Addressing the Greatest Barrier to Farmer Success: Water
Trees for the Future is exploring new solutions to persistent global water woes
Silver Spring, MD (March 20, 2020) – Water, particularly in the developing world, is widely considered one of the greatest barriers to farmer success. International development nonprofit and leader in regenerative agroforestry Trees for the Future is launching a series of innovations to improve rural agriculture development, particularly in the developing world – among them is a focus on water access and conservation.
“Our Water Innovation – and the Innovations Program at large – is helping us to better understand and implement solutions that are urgently needed in the developing world,” says TREES Director of Programs Brandy Lellou. “We are experts in agroforestry, but we are always working to improve our methodology, digging deeper to see how we can help more people and drive impact.”
The problem with water, Lellou explains, is that many farmers in the semi-arid developing world do not have municipal or private water systems in place to be able to reliable care for their crops. TREES’ Water Innovation strives to find smart, cost-effective ways to bring water to farmers in some of the driest regions of Africa.
“Our agroforestry approach teaches farmers how to create more healthy microenvironments on their land, which can then trap and retain water in root systems, soils, and in the water table,” Lellou says. “Over time, this helps to stabilize the water cycle on the farm and provide some consistency for the farmer. But when we first start working with farmers and their land is desertified, water access is imperative to restoring that land.”
TREES’ Water Innovation explores four ways to establish water access on dry farmlands:
- Linking farmers to existing water systems
- Creating shallow wells
- Harvesting rainwater
- Pumping water from nearby access points via solar energy
Each of these approaches pose various opportunities and challenges for the nonprofit and the farmers they serve. Currently, TREES has successfully linked more than 1,714 Senegalese farmers to existing water systems through their Loxo Loxo Project.
TREES is currently accepting assistance from other organizations or individuals with expertise in shallow wells, rainwater harvesting, and solar water pumping. See their Innovations page for more details and contact information.
Trees for the Future is a registered 501 (c)(3) nonprofit working to end hunger, poverty, and deforestation through agroforestry and regenerative agriculture training. Visit their Forest Garden Training Center to learn more about training practices.