France – Martinique: agroforestry tree planting for food self-sufficiency and preservation of natural resources on the island

Overview of the plots to be planted © Guerrere

Background & challenges

The two farmers, Arnaud – zero chlordecone label – and Sébastien – Petit Cocotier: a start-up providing baskets of healthy local fruit and vegetables, delivered to drop points, homes, and offices – adopted agroecology in response to the territorial problems of chlordecone soil pollution (intensive banana production) and challenges of food sovereignty in Martinique, which still imports over 80% of its food consumption.

Arnaud and Sébastien belong to a structured network of farmers who exchange views and information on these innovative farming methods for the area. The pair are seeking techniques and knowledge to develop agroforestry. They inform customers who buy from their local network how this type of farming preserves the natural resources of the island.

The project aims to increase and diversify agricultural and forestry production on these plots of land, which have long been monoculture cultivated, by introducing trees such as vanilla, apples, etc. The chlordecone pollution affects the roots but does not reach up into the branches, thus leaving them pollution free. This long-term project seeks to become self sufficient in the medium term and make the most of the systems through direct and local sales or local processing.

Planting 6,450 perennial trees of 34 different species on former chlordecone-polluted plots will deliver the following benefits:

  • Improvement of organic matter rate in soils contaminated by intensive banana cultivation, chemical inputs and pesticides. Structuring of the soil will enable it to once again serve as a support, thanks to the presence of soil macrofauna (earthworms, for example) and mycorrhizal fungi. All these elements will help make the system more sustainable since it will be more self sufficient and less harmful to the soil.
  • Diversification of biodiversity thanks to the many species planted (the project will increase them from 1 to 34) will also support biodiversity (shelter and food) and serve as a passage for possums and other animals.
  • Inspiration for many other farmers in the region keen to adopt a more sustainable agricultural system, aimed at food self-sufficiency for the people of Martinique, while respecting the natural resources of the island.

Project type

Agroforestry

Beneficiaries

Arnaud and Sébastien, farmers in Martinique, committed to agroecology

Number of trees

6,450 perennial trees

Species planted

34 different species

Partner

French Agroforestry Association (AFAF)

High trees:

  • Cordia alliodiora – Pink wood
  • Hymenea courbaril – Courbaril
  • Simarouba amara – White Bwa
  • Bombacopsis glabra – Cayenne nut
  • Cedrela odorata – Pei mahogany

High pollard trees:

  • Simarouba amara – White Bwa
  • Spondias mombin – Mombin
  • Terminalia cattapa – Pei almond

Mini-trogons:

  • Citharexylon fructicosum – Square Bwa
  • Gliricidia sepium – Gliricidia

Fruit and spice trees:

  • Mammea americana – Pei apricot
  • Flacourtia sp – Pei cherry
  • Pouteria sapota – Sapotes Mamey
  • Manilkara zapota – Sapotilla
  • Pouteria campechiana – Canistel
  • Myristica fragrans – Muscatel
  • Pimenta dioica – India wood
  • Chrysophyllum cainito – Caimite
  • Cinnamomum sp – Cinnamon tree
  • Artocarpus altilis – Breadfruit
  • Pouteria caimito – Zolive
  • Garcinia mangostana – Mangosteen
  • Brossimum alicastrum – Bread nut
  • Nephelium lappaceum – Rambutan
  • Citrus maxima – Chadec
  • Persea americana – Avocado tree
  • Citrus aurantiifolia – Lime
  • Psidium guajava – Guava
  • Citrus reticulata × sinensis – Ortanic
  • Malpighia sp – Pei or chubby cherry
  • Carica papaya – Papaya

Forestry fruit trees:

  • Theobroma cacao – Cocoa
  • Theobroma grandiflorum – Cupuaçu
  • Cola acuminata – Cola nut

Coconut trees:

  • Coco nucifera – Coconut palm
Plot of land to be planted © Guerrere

Works timeline

First planting wave :

  • January to March 2021: cleaning of plots, soil preparation
  • April to June 2021: planting of 75% of the trees planned for the project
  • 2021 – 2024: monitoring and maintenance of plantations, replanting if necessary

Second planting wave :

  • January to March 2022: cleaning of plots, soil preparation
  • April to June 2022: planting of the remaining 25% of trees
  • 2022 – 2025: monitoring and maintenance of plantations, replanting if necessary

Planting partner

The French Agroforestry Association (AFAF), set up in 2007 under 1901 French law, develops agroforestry in France for farming, in the political sphere, and with the general public. It is a platform for exchange and partnerships between farmers, agroforestry operators, researchers, political decision-makers, local authorities, and administrative bodies. The AFAF puts forward recommendations at both national and international levels and works to restore trees to farming systems.

Within this project, AFAF is in charge of technical follow-up with beneficiaries over time and providing information needed for communications.

Budget

The total budget to be raised is €180,600, or €28 per perennial tree, broken down as follows:

  • of which 95% is allocated to the planting project, broken down as follows:
    • Plants and replanting: €9.63
    • Mulching: €5.78
    • Technical advice: €2.11
    • Coordination, project management, communications, and monitoring by AFAF over three years: €5.10
    • A Tree for You collection, monitoring and communications costs (14.21%): €3.98
  • and 5% (€1.40) for A Tree for You structural costs

Maintenance, land restoration, and planting are paid for by the farmers themselves.

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