How Agroforestry could boost North East farming

21 September 2015

Today’s visit demonstrated that agroforestry is an answer to the various challenges that the European agricultural sector is currently facing: profitability, competitiveness, biodiversity, climate change and territorial planning. Mr. Hamot and Mr. de Lozzo are innovative farmers who chose to apply agri-ecological methods to produce as much but in a better way.” Those are the words of Eric Andrieu (France) and Paul Brannen (United Kingdom), Members of the European Parliament, after their visit of agroforestry plots near Toulouse.

This visit showed all the economic and environmental benefits provided by agroforestry systems. It is clearly established that putting trees and hedges at the heart of crops and/or breeding makes it possible to produce food while protecting the environment. Agroforestry leads to better use of natural resources such as water, soil, light and minerals etc thanks to the vegetal intensification of the agricultural production systems.

By adopting agroforestry and combining it with proven technics of soil permanent cover and direct sowing (no tillage), Mr. Hamot and M. de Lozzo further optimize their production system. They limit the use of inputs, improve soil fertility, stimulate biodiversity (for example bees and other pollinators) and decrease their production costs. Moreover, they contribute to protecting water quality (underground and on the surface), which is the primary objective of the program Agr’eau implemented with and by the farmers on the Adour Garonne watershed. They are therefore convinced that they made the right decision in opting for this innovative agriculture which seems to be an important ally not only for climate change mitigation (by sequestering carbon into the soil) but also for the adaptation of the ecosystems to the challengesthey are facing.  

“When intertwined with agricultural production, trees have definitely a key role to play in developing a competitive and sustainable agriculture. Considered intruders in the past, trees are becoming an input, benefiting the farmers!” claimed Alain Canet, President of the French Agroforestry Association (AFAF). Agroforestry serves all farmers, regardless of their type of farming, their production and the size of the farm. Mr. Hamot has developed large crops in conventional farming while Mr. De Lozzo practices polyculture and organic farming.

Organised by the AFAF and the Brussels-based agency AlienorEU, the visit of agroforestry plots ended by tasting agroforestry products made locally. Mr. Andrieu and Mr. Brannen could thus experience agroforestry from the field to the plate. 

 

This press release was issued by the French Agroforestry Association

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