Biomass transfer technology (BTT)
Various agroforestry technologies are finding enormous application in the east and central African (ECA) region and are lifting many out of poverty and mitigating declining agricultural productivity and natural resources. One such example is biomass transfer in which trees that are rich in mineral elements (fertilizer trees), when integrated with inorganic fertilizer can double or triple crops yields in degraded lands.
Biomass transfer technology involves the growing of trees/shrubs along boundaries or contours on farms or the collection of the same from off farm niches such as roadsides and applying the leaves on field at planting. In western Kenya, Tithonia diversifolia become the preferred species used by farmers to grow maize, beans or kale etc.
Drylands cover about 41 per cent of land surface. Characterised mostly by low, erratic and highly inconsistent rainfall, water scarcity, soil erosion and climate change are its prominent features. About half of the world food supply comes from drylands and host over half of the world's poor. Keeping in view the rich biodiversity of drylands and home land for millions of rural poor people which are directly dependent on scarce resources of drylands, different innovative technologies for conservation of drylands area adopted to ensure food security, improve productivity and maintain environmental stability. By this way dryland resources and biodiversity reserves are conserved.
Apart from soil and water conservation measures, enhancement of soil fertility is also a vital component of dryland conservation. From a high cost external input oriented agricultural production, to an integrated nutrient management approach, soil fertility can be thought of with inputs like biofertilizers, organic manures and composts green manures and use of mulches etc.