The technical-scientific basis of fully sustainable tropical systems exists whilst continuing to evolve and adapt to a range of site and client specifics across the world. However, the mainstream scaling of such methodologies, especially in Africa, remains limited due to the availability of active demonstration and learning farms where the associated knowledge can be transferred across the small, medium and large-scale agri-sector.
L.E.A.F’s vision is aligned with the enabling of progressive agriculture, in line with changing consumer demands and future policy adaptation. Given that one of the most efficient ways of promoting the requisite technological and knowledge transfer on profitable regenerative agriculture is through the implementation of model farms and training hubs, we have several pilot projects in motion:
Tamalu farm – Agroforestry
Tamalu farm was taken up by L.E.A.F Africa in 2018 as Kenya’s first open source demonstration farm for a range of profitable regenerative agriculture enterprises including; syntropic agroforestry; market gardens, pasture raised poultry and others.
Agroforestry promotes an interface between agriculture and forests, reducing costs of agrochemicals and avoiding soil erosion and nutrient loss - as soils will remain with forest cover for a longer period of time. Forestry, therefore, will enhance the carbon footprint, reduce farming costs and provide an additional source of income. Forests will, in addition contribute to:
i. Increasing soil water holding capacity and soil stability;
ii. Deep drilling of nutrients;
iii. Increasing overall moisture and relative humidity;
iv. Provide shading for the cattle (thermal comfort);
v. Provide wood, fruits, rooting crops, organic matter (bark, leaves), resins and oils;
vi. Act as windbreaks;
vii. Sequester Carbon;
viii. Provide shelter and habitat of animal and plant species;
ix. Control erosion and improve water infiltration
Integrated Livestock Crops/Pasture & Forestry (ILC/PF)
This comprises the intensive design and management of compatible components within a single agro-ecosystem.
ILCF combines cropping, livestock, and forestry activities through approaches such as crop rotation, succession, double cropping, and intercropping, representing one the principle strategies of sustainable agricultural production, particularly in the tropical region.
These integrated systems yield increases in productivity; lower production costs and increase income through developing the beneficial relationship between healthy pasture and healthy animals, tree cover and diversified forestry products.
When ILCF is adopted, there is revenue from agriculture during harvest (or rainy season) and livestock in the off season (or dry season). In turn, when adopting the ILCF, it is possible to generate short-term income from agriculture, medium-term income from livestock and long-term income from timber and other non-timber forest products (NTFP’s).
Both of the integrated production systems described above can therefore be used to implement a fully sustainable agricultural system, based on the principles of crop rotation and intercropping between grain crops, fodder and tree species - to produce grains, legumes, fruit, meat or milk, poultry products, and timber/non-timber forest products throughout the year.