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Climate change: DFID wins award for fertiliser trees project

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Department For International Develeopment has won Best Initiative by a Government or Statutory Body at the Climate Week Awards 2013.

Fertiliser trees planted within the crops
Fertiliser trees: Crop yields usually increase by about 30% and sometimes by even more. Picture: World Agroforestry Centre

The Department for International Development has won Best Initiative by a Government or Statutory Body at the Climate Week Awards for a project which is using a combination of agroforestry and conservation farming to help millions of farmers across Africa protect themselves against drought and hunger.

The UK aid supported EverGreen Agriculture project, run by the CGIAR’s World Agroforestry Centre, integrates trees into crop and livestock systems. EverGreen Agriculture uses a combination of agroforestry with the principles of conservation farming. It is helping millions of farmers across Africa to protect themselves against drought and hunger caused by climate change while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

These ‘fertiliser trees’ improve soil fertility by drawing nitrogen from the air and transferring it to the soil through their roots and leaf litter. This provides a ‘free’ supply of biofertilisers that restores exhausted soils, builds up organic nutrient levels, raises crop yields and dramatically increases farm incomes. Crop yields usually increase by about 30% and sometimes by even more: in Zambia, maize yields tripled from 1.3 to 4.1 tonnes per hectare.

Within the context of climate change, increasing population, deforestation, reduced landholdings and declining soil productivity, EverGreen Agriculture is emerging as an affordable and accessible science-based solution that is helping African farmers to protect and enrich their land, increase food production, adapt to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate Week

Climate Week is Britain’s biggest annual climate change campaign, aimed at highlighting and inspiring a new wave of action and ideas to combat climate change. Culminating in a week of activities, it showcases practical solutions from every sector of society, showing what can be achieved, sharing ideas and encouraging thousands more to act during the rest of the year.

The Climate Week Awards, held in London yesterday, celebrated the UK’s most effective and ambitious organisations, communities and individuals and their efforts to combat climate change.

Published 25 March 2013