anexo 11 PN15 CPWF - travel grant

Información relevante para: Región Andina - Colombia

Slash and burn (SB) is an ancient form of agriculture practiced in around 25% of the tropical land area. Despite the immediate benefits obtained from using SB, it is recognized as a non-sustainable practice that not only do not guarantee food security but that also leads to soil degradation. Unfortunately there are not many alternatives to replace SB agriculture, especially for small scale farmers usually forced to produce in marginal lands.
In Honduras (Central America), an indigenous production system known as “Quesungual” was identified by technicians and then improved in collaboration with local farmers, giving as result a suitable option to replace the SB traditional system. Quesungual Slash and Mulch Agroforestry System (QSMAS) is defined as a smallholder production system with a group of technologies for the sustainable management of soil, water and nutrients in drought-prone areas of hillsides agroecosystems of the sub-humid tropics. QSMAS is traditionally practiced by resource-poor smallholders in southwest Honduras, where the system has been successfully disseminated due to its multiple benefits at household, community, farm, and landscape levels.
Among the specific objectives of PN15 are to define QSMAS management concepts and principles, and to evaluate and document potential areas suitable to QSMAS. Through the study of QSMAS in the reference site in Honduras, the project has been able to elucidate four principles responsible of its productive-sustainable performance: (1) No SB; (2) Permanent soil cover; (3) Minimal disturbance of soil; and (4) Efficient use of fertilizer. Evaluation of QSMAS adaptation through validation in Nicaragua and Colombia has given as the more significant results an unexpected high acceptance by farmers and local authorities, the widespread of the system beyond the validation sites (Nicaragua), and a good agronomic performance in terms of productivity. Preliminary site similarity analysis (SSA) to define extrapolation domains (ED) for QSMAS had identified other regions with possibilities for its adaptation, including Southeast Asia (SE Asia).
CPWF - Theme 1 projects number 11 and 15 are looking for feasible alternatives to improve productivity and sustainability of production systems based on rice in SE Asia and on maize in Mesoamerica, respectively. Since both projects face similar contexts, a visit to SE Asia was organized with the main purpose of sharing PN15 knowledge and experience on QSMAS with PN11 staff and partners, with a view to undertaking a preliminary assessment of QSMAS potential in the uplands of SE Asia
For PN15, the main product of this visit is the knowledge of paddy rice production in both, uplands and lowlands, as an option to increase rice production in rural areas of Mesoamerica. For both projects, the main result may be the confirmation of QSMAS (or it’s principles) as a suitable option to improve soil management and crop productivity in uplands of Lao PDR and Vietnam. Still, a more rigorous feasibility study to explore QSMAS potential in SE Asia is required before initiate any effort for its adaptation. It has to include: (i) a specific SSA to contrast conditions in the reference (and maybe validation) site(s) with those in north Lao PDR and Vietnam; (ii) the documentation and analysis of key information on agriculture issues and secondary forests characteristics; and (iii) the determination of potential acceptance and support of QSMAS by farmers and technical and administrative authorities.

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