Agroforestry has potential to address the adverse effects of climate change through carbon sequestration, increasing biodiversity and improving adaptive capacity and resilience among smallholder farmers. However, this potential is context specific and insufficiently quantified in smallholder faming systems, partly because of inherent variability of smallholder farms. Our study aimed to determine the tree/shrub diversity and carbon stocks in different agroforestry systems within smallholder farms in two 100 km2 sites, the so-called lower and middle Nyando sites, in western Kenya. In both, context-specific agroforestry adoption had been promoted among households of four community associations through an asset-based community development (ABCD) approach. Their farms were assessed and compared with those of relevant comparison samples. Trees and shrubs were inventoried on a total of 106 farms, and their formations classified in five major agroforestry practices: hedgerows, multipurpose trees on farm (MPT), riparian buffers, woodlots, and boundary planting. To assess above-ground biomass (AGB) of individual trees/shrubs, diameter at breast height measurements were taken. Strong regional differences were considered in data analysis and presentation. Altogether, 3,353 and 6,346 trees/shrubs were inventoried in the lower and middle Nyando sites, respectively. AGB was significantly higher in middle than in lower Nyando. Woodlots had the highest amount of AGB carbon stock, while MPT had the highest diversity of tree/shrub species in all the groups. Conversely, boundary planting had the highest number of trees/shrubs inventoried and hence was the most common agroforestry practice across all the samples in both regions. Dominant AGB contributor species were Grevillea robusta (37.8%) in middle, and Eurphobia tirucalli (16.5%) in lower Nyando. This study provides empirical evidence that asset-based and community-driven selection and implementation of both tree/shrub species and agroforestry practices can contribute positively to species and practice diversity, which are associated with AGB carbon stock levels and wider agro-ecosystem diversity. This study hence provides benchmark information that is relevant for SDG goal 15 on “life on land,” and various specific targets, and can inform sustainable establishment of carbon sink facilities by supporting smallholders to uptake contextually suitable and economically sensible agroforestry practices in an overall effort to foster and support sustainable development.
The tractor is a vehicle often used in agriculture. It is mainly used to tow other unpowered agricultural machinery for farming, harvesting, and seeding. They consume a lot of fuel with emissions that often contain a large amount of toxic gases, which seriously jeopardize human health and the ecological environment. Therefore, the electrical tractor is bound to become a future trend. The objective of this study is to design and implement a lightweight, energy-saving, and less polluting electric tractor, which meets the requirements of existing smallholder farmers, equipped with unmanned technology and multi-functions to assist labor and to provide the potential for unmanned operation. We reduced the weight of the tractor body structure to 101 kg, and the bending rigidity and torsional rigidity reached 11,579 N/mm and 4923 Nm/deg, respectively. Two 7.5 kW induction motors driven by lithium batteries were applied, which allows at least 3.5 h of working time.
This study was conducted to assess the potential impact of applying a new groundnut planting density on welfare of smallholder farmers in northern Ghana. We used data from on-farm experiments, focus group discussions, and a household survey. We followed three steps in our analysis. First, we conducted cost-benefit analysis in which we showed the economic advantage of the new technology over the farmers’ practice. Second, we predicted adoption rates along timeline using the Adoption and Diffusion Outcome Prediction Tool (ADOPT). Third, using the results of the first and the second steps, we estimated the potential impact of the technology on poverty at household level using a combination of methods such as economic surplus model and econometric model. The cost-benefit analysis shows that increasing plant density increases farmers’ financial returns i.e., the benefit-cost-ratio increases from 1.05 under farmers’ practice to 1.87 under the best plant density option, which is 22 plants/sqm. The adoption prediction analysis shows that the maximum adoption rate for the best practice will be 62% which will take about nine years to reach. At the maximum adoption rate the incidence of extreme poverty will be reduced by about 3.6% if farmers have access to the international groundnut market and by about 2% if they do not have. The intervention will also reduce poverty gap and poverty severity. The results suggest that policy actions which can improve farmers’ access to the international market will enhance farmers’ welfare more than the situation in which farmers have access to domestic markets only. Furthermore, promoting a more integrated groundnut value-chain can broaden the demand base of the produce resulting in higher and sustainable impact of the technology on the welfare of groundnut producers and beyond.
Currently there is controversy about the effect of direct foreign investment in the Brazilian agricultural sector, mainly due to the impact it has on small farmers, land use, the environment, and food security. In this context, Brazil finds itself in an even more delicate situation, since in order to remain a bulwark of the economy, Brazilian agribusiness depends heavily on public policies that directly impact its treasury. This suggests there is an indirect transfer of public resources to transnational companies involved in agribusiness production chains. This paper assesses the allocation of agricultural credits in Brazil and the market share held by Brazilian groups, vis-à-vis multinational corporations in the agribusiness supply chains. The study was carried out analyzing the three largest supply chains established in the country: soybean, corn, and cattle. Results reveal that 75% of the operating credit (crédito de custeio), which represents 60% of the total government credit in Brazil, goes directly to soybean, corn, and cattle farmers. Most of this subsidized credit budget goes to the soybean farmers, which are mostly encompassed by large farmers. Results also reveal that 76.1% of the soybean supply chain in Brazil is controlled by foreign multinational corporations. These findings suggest that resources invested in large farmers that take part in supply chains controlled by multinational foreign groups end up indirectly financing foreign companies to the detriment of local smallholder farmers and domestic agribusiness. This highlights the need for restructuring Brazilian agricultural policy in favor of family farmers and domestic agribusiness.