March 29, 2010


I recently was exposed to detailed information on the fertlilizer tree, Faidherbia albida. This tree, a native of Africa, seems to have attractive properties that can be a boost to agro forestry. One, its a tree, so it does not need to be grown and cut like we need to for Sesbania. Two, it sheds its leaves that serves as mulch for the crops, at the onset of monsoon. Three, its a nitrogen fixer and so replenishes nitrogen and the leaves threfore serve as fertlizers. Four, by shedding leaves for 3 /4 months in a year, the tree is in semi hibernation mode and therefore does not compete with the crops, for nutrition, light etc. So, it seems to have all the requisite qualities for agroforestry.

Amazing, isn't it? Apparently, its a tree that was used traditionally, but had over period of time, lost out to trends. There is  now a reversal of trend as with every sphere and people are now going back to using this tree in their farms. Apparently, considerable data is now available with us to validate this traditonal conservation agriculture, in terms of increased yields in maize /millet / cotton crop that had these trees in their farms.

I am truly fascinated by this tree and is further confirmation of the Beauty in this Creation

No comments: