EURAF at World Congress on Agroforestry

Report from EURAF Members

Boy, was the World Congress fun! I am privileged enough to work for a tropical agroforestry research organisation and to be your president. That means I have agroforestry friends from all over the world which I rarely see - and the world Congress was thus the perfect opportunity: to catch up with old friends; to make some new ones; and to be vowed by the amazing work around the world to convince policymakers, farmers and other land users that the solution sits in trees. I'm really optimistic about the future after this extraordinary event, and very much look forward to the next one!. Patrick Worms, EURAF President

EURAF stand received visits from a wide spectrum of audience during three exciting agroforestry days! Old friends met around our table, and new friends wanted to engage and know about European Agroforestry practices and policy (oh those discussion of definitions of what is a tree for the EU and for each Member State!), or just talk about the limbo between agriculture and forestry. The stand was somewhere where everyone was welcome to leave their ideas for the challenging adventure of mixing trees, crops and livestock. Thanks to those who took the step forward to become a member of EURAF.  Of course, one of the highlights was the Iberian Ham, with special thanks Fernando Garcia Pulido of Castillo de Bayuela, the lovely farmer that offered EURAF such a delicacy.  This allowed Gerardo and Manuel to give a lesson on dehesa pig rearing techniques, accompanied by postcards and posters showing how such delicacy is made on the Iberian agroforestry landscapes. Miscelaneous members at EURAF stand

At the Hungarian stand, visitors could have a glimpse into the world of the traditional Hungarian wood pastures. Besides the introduction of some agroforestry family farms, some high quality food from the traditional silvopastoral systems such as the handmade red currant vinegar from Vácza-kő Farm and meet pie of gray cattle from Tűzkövesbörc Tanya were also presented. Recent research on the quality of herbs in agroforestry systems were also of interest. Andrea Vityi, Hungary 

Although there were many positive aspects coming out of the congress , such as cocoa and coffee buyers only buying from non clearfelled areas, the best bit, for me, was closer to home. In the UK Paul Burgess explained how some retailers are only buying produce that have the ‘Freedom Food’ stamp on their produce. The stamp will indicate that free range animals have been living in wooded situations including agroforestry. This is an animal welfare initiative championed by the RSPCA. This explains why there is huge interest in our agroforestry scheme in the Northern counties of Ireland. This is great news for  animals and agroforesters. Eugene Curran, Ireland

 

 

The Italian “agroforestry delegation” left Italy in a very rainy and grey Sunday morning on the 19th of May. And the weather was not very gentle even in Montpellier. But the sun started shining again (and it accompanied all days of the meeting). At “Le Corum”, the organizers welcomed us with good cheese and wine while a music band delighted the public with colorful music. In a crowd of new faces from all over the world (nice feeling …), we started recognizing old friends from EURAF and it was nice to meet them. The impact of the first plenary session, on the first day, was gorgeous. The linear scenography of trees silhouettes, arranged on the stage of the Berlioz theatre, together with the technical support of a harmonious show of lights and pictures from the world, opened the congress.

During the meeting, well organized round tables - plenary sessions were interspersed with parallel and poster sessions. Oral and poster presentations were numerous. One of the weak points of a world congress is that it’s impossible to attend everything. And because of that, the sensation to have missed something important, chases you all the time...

The Italian and Sardinian contribution to WCA in terms of chairmen, oral presentations/posters (about 40) was significant. We can be proud that out of 25 posters, 4 Italian posters were awarded! One of the most important concepts come out from the congress is the need, in agroforestry (and not only), to produce numbers and objective information that enable policy makers in building up and supporting proper policies and drive the change.

And this is what the 5° European Conference on Agroforestry will take into account next year. Italy is organizing EURAF 2020 that will be held in Nuoro, Sardinia, from the 18th till the 20th of May 2020. During the WCA, the Italian delegation had the possibility to announce the conference and, through the Tour of Europe initiative, the WCA public had the opportunity to get a real glimpse of the Mediterranean Island visiting the Sardinian corner arranged by EURAF 2020 local Sardinian organizing committee. Wood, cork, herbs, wool, cheese, honey and sweets, typical silvopastoral products, were shown and offered to WCA participants to make them experience a little bit, in a carousel of colors and tastes, the atmosphere of this astonishing Island and welcome them next year in the heart of Mediterranean agroforestry. Francesca Camilli, Italy