Faidherbia, a tree that has organic fertilising properties could help the African continent deal with problems of food production and climate change, the World Agroforestry Centre said.
Dennis Garrity, the Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre, highlighted some of the centre’s most recent research, which is designed to increase maize production in Africa by up to four times by planting trees that act as organic fertilizers at the World Agroforestry Congress held at the UN’s Africa headquarters here.
“We have evidence of how maize yields have doubled and tripled for smallholders, without an overall increase in labour or the need to apply nitrogen fertilizers,” said Garrity.
Garrity told the Congress the secret to higher maize yields lay in Faidherbia that has a special nitrogen-fixing property and an unusual habit known as “reverse leaf phenology”.
Unlike other trees, Faidherbia sheds its leaves and goes dormant during the early rainy season. Its leaves grow again only in the dry season. This means that it is extremely compatible with food crops because it does not compete with them for water, nutrients or light.