The Agro-Forestry Village Programme is an integrated approach to rural development that is creating a full range of socio-economic benefits, including the promotion of job-creation, improved farming practices, expanded markets, and enhanced social facilities and services.
TechnoServe selected five geographic areas based on suitability for plantation forestry and mixed grain and livestock farming, as determined by local and national governments, and based on existing investment plans of forestry companies.
Moreover, TechnoServe is working to change land-use patterns from slash and burn farming practices to sustainable plantation forests. With this emphasis, new plantations are being established on degraded, abandoned farmlands and companies are increasingly moving toward assisting communities to develop more sustainable agriculture practices and mitigate the effects of climate change.
Supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Agro-Forestry Village Project aims to break the cycle of poverty for about 60,000 workers, farmers and their family members.
The Agro-Forestry Village Programme objective is to create 5,600 new jobs in the forestry, poultry and grain sectors and transform 10,800 subsistence family farms into commercial maize/soy/oilseed and/or poultry broiler farms.
The programme aims to provide a broad range of world-class technical assistance and capacity building to the forestry industry, such as protected area management, fire management, watershed management, non-timber forest products, natural resource-based eco-tourism, and carbon credits.
Specific objectives and “success factors” of the project include training district and provincial officials on land use planning, industry competitiveness, enabling environment issues and investment promotion and support.
The project aims to facilitate public-private partnerships at the district and provincial levels, such as fire prevention and control, watershed management and bio-security.
In terms of scale of implementation and affect on the ground, results-to-date show that:
- TechnoServe has been instrumental in increasing the number of plantation forestry companies in Mozambique from one to seven.
- Five of the nine plantation forestry companies operating in Mozambique have negotiated technical assistance agreements with TechnoServe. Activities under these agreements range from agriculture extension services – including the design of outgrower models and establishment of demonstration plots – to improved technology adoption, provision of market linkages to potential buyers of agricultural products, and assistance with the land consultation process.
- TechnoServe’s engagement in the sector on the issue of land access has accelerated the rate of planting and job creation in the industry, increasing total employment from 2,814 to 5,262 and resulting in the preservation of 17,500 hectares of native forestry.