What is Agrofloresta?
Agrofloresta is a system where fruit and vegetables are grown under the shade of the trees and instead of a monocrop, a polycrop is cultivated. So therefore, in addition to perennial wood plants such as trees, shrubs, palm trees, bamboo etc., fruit trees and agricultural crops are also planted.
▪ Improved living space for fauna ensures a biological balance which in turn reduces parasites and diseases. The larger the biodiversity the more stable the ecosystem.
▪ Trees offer protection from the scorching tropical sun and cooling through the effect of evaporation through the leaves. Soil life is also unable to cope with excess heat and therefore Agrofloresta contributes to the improvement of the soil structure.
▪ Tree roots help water penetrate the soil which in turn helps reduce erosion. They also prevent flooding caused by tropical rain by minimising the surface run-off after rain falls.
▪ The trees provide a more balanced microclimate and the humus layer is constantly renewed with the help of their leaves. The millions of small creatures that live in the soil, contribute to the health of the soil and thus the cultivated crops. No loss of fertile soil, and therefore no restriction in use, as the base is suitable for many plant species.
▪ Supply of free fertilizer, as trees (depending on the species) with their roots anchored deep in the soil pump up plant nutrients and after the fall of leaves transfer these nutrients to the uppermost soil layer and thus to the root crops. In addition, since this natural fertilizer is better suited to the soil fauna, this is strengthened and then provides for a better soil quality.
At the moment the inhabitants of this rain forest region cultivate monocultures which only yield a good return by using pesticides and fertilisers.
The principle of Agrofloresta provides motivation for the farmers, because as well as preversing the environment there is also an economic advantage as expensive pesticides and fertilisers are no longer necessary.
Through regular Agrofloresta workshops on our Fazenda we can educate the farmers who can then implement what they have learnt.