Tony Simons tells EurActiv: Agroforestry is a ‘win-win’ for developing nations

June 24, 2016
Walnut trees shelter maize crops in an agroforestry project in France. Photo: AGFORWARD project/Flickr

Walnut trees shelter maize crops in an agroforestry project in France.
Photo: AGFORWARD project/Flickr

Agroforestry is a “back to the future” concept, advocating a return to the origins of farming —trees and fields— rather than the modern concept of huge monocultures, says Tony Simons, Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), one of the six institutions that form the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. In a recent interview with the specialized media platform EurActiv, Simons explained the concept of agroforestry and its benefits for the future of agriculture.

Here’s what he suggests that the European Union could do to help countries in the global South developing a more sustainable agriculture.

To boil that down to what Brussels could do, does the World Agroforestry Centre have a wish list of say three things the EU could do?

I think in terms of the mainstream commodities, oil palm, timber, cocoa, coffee, rubber, the perennial commodities – it would really good if we had some agreed performance measures of what success is.

Because there’s a lot of difficult, and emotional, things around it, eg how much of the world do we want in oilpalm? Forestry’s great, it’s renewable, you can grow it, cut it down, and use it – how much do we want in terms of bio-energy, fibre, trees?

Sending those signals that these are progressive, supportive, regulations, these are open incentives, rather than a barrier.

Because if a coffee-growing nation in Africa wants to sell processed coffee, there’s I think a 600% tariff to get into the European market – because all the roasting is done in Amsterdam and Brussels, and Geneva and London.

Read the full interview at EurActiv

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