Veld Products, Botswana. Veld Product Research & Development - Protecting Africa's Forests.

The Community-based Agroforestry Project (CBAP)

The Community-Based Agroforestry Project (CBAP) was started in June 1997. The main objective of CBAP is:

"To support communities in the development of appropriate low-input and sustainable agroforestry systems that will increase food and household security for subsistence farmers in semi-arid Botswana."

In 1995 VPR&D established an agroforestry trial at its site in Gabane. This trial combines indigenous fruit tree species with traditional crops and rainwater harvesting, and is used for experimentation and demonstration purposes. With CBAP VPR&D aims to disseminate the experience that has been gained with this trial into communities, to create an interest in agroforestry and to develop viable and appropriate alternatives to traditional agriculture. CBAP operates in villages in the eastern Hardveld: Gabane, Thabala, Paje, Letcheng and Tsamaya.

The Schools Programme

Agroforestry demonstration plots were established in September 1997 at the following schools: Thabala Primary School, Paje Primary School, Gabane C.J.S.S., Mokgala C.J.S.S. and Shanganani C.J.S.S. The trees were planted at the end of October and many students were taught about tree planting, tree management and agroforestry. The tree species that have been planted are; morula, morojwa, mogorogorwane, and mmilo. Monthly visits have been made to the schools and teaching materials on tree planting and agroforestry have been prepared for the teachers involved with the project. The demonstration plots serve to introduce the concept of agroforestry in to the communities.

The Farmers Programme

Farmers were informed about the project through kgotla meetings and the Agricultural Demonstrators. To date 13 farmers have joined the project and are preparing their plots. The trees will be distributed in December. The farmers contribute P1.00 towards each tree, and make all the management decisions themselves (such as which species of crops and trees to plant, and where). Experimentation with various species and techniques is encouraged, and training is provided where needed.

The project has been funded for two years and ends in June '99. Further donor funding will be sought to continue the project.

The project has been funded by the European Community (EC) and the Government of Botswana, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry Department for two years (June 1997 - June 1999) and is supported by Skillshare Africa. It is expected that a follow up will be required after this period and further funding will be sought to continue the project.

1998 promises to be an interesting year as farmers will become actively involved in the CBAP. The project approach will be participatory and will focus on learning by doing. Farmers will be encouraged to experiment with various species and techniques in an effort to determine the most suitable agroforestry interventions for their specific farming systems. To facilitate this process, appropriate training materials and methodologies need to be developed by the project so as to add sustainability to CBAP and enable VPR&D to expand its agroforestry activities.

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