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Cathy Watson

Cathy Watson is chief of programme development at the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi. Before joining ICRAF in November 2012, she founded and ran two NGOs in Uganda -- Straight Talk Foundation and Mvule Trust. She was made a senior Ashoka fellow for social entrepreneurship in 2006. She has also been a foreign correspondent, working for The Guardian and the BBC, among others. A graduate in biology and Latin American Studies from Princeton, she has over 30 years of work experience in Africa with a focus on trees, youth, HIV, families, and communication for social change. She holds a graduate certificate in agroforestry from the University of Missouri.

In Andhra Pradesh, World Agroforestry dives deep into the science of Zero-Budget Natural Farming

  Zero-budget natural farming (ZBNF) is reported to be followed by 8% of farmers in Andhra Pradesh, India, making it probably the world’s most successful natural farming approach. “Adoption rates elsewhere of nature-friendly agriculture rarely exceed 1%,” says...

Sharing the knowledge from Mỹ Lợi climate-smart village in Việt Nam

  The adoption of climate-smart agriculture in Việt Nam is underway through knowledge-sharing events.   Farmers, agricultural extension officers and local leaders from Quảng Bình Province, Việt Nam came to Mỹ Lợi Village to learn about climate-smart agriculture...

Biodiesel from palm oil: finding the sweet spot between ecology and economy

Scientists at ICRAF The World Agroforestry Centre have struck the golden mean between intensification and environmental health for oil-palm plantations. Their analysis shows that sustainable systems can significantly boost production but not as high as some analysts believed....

Smallholder farmers in Malawi are growing fertilizer trees on their farms to improve food production

The adoption of fertilizer trees on farms is a simple and effective way to improve soil fertility, food productivity and therefore contribute to food security. Yet, there is still little empirical research that documents the impact of fertilizer...

While raising crop yields, African thorn tree Faidherbia albida captures large amounts of carbon

A large, old Faidherbia albida tree with a metre-plus diameter stored the equivalent of the CO2 emitted by 8 cars over one year. These useful trees play an important role in carbon sequestration, a critical part of the...

Farming worms for climate-smart agriculture in Vietnam

Twenty-three farmers from My Loi village in Viet Nam were recently trained in vermiculture—raising worms on farms to produce fertilizer and improve soil. Vermicomposting will help the farmers improve one of their priority ‘climate-smart agriculture’ interventions—home gardens. Inspired...

The potential of trees for energy

Further exploration of sustainable tree-based bioenergy could help improve the lives and livelihoods of communities around the world.   Most of the energy used in the world comes from fossil fuels, which are not sustainable as sources will...

oil palm, seedlings, Sulawesi, Photo Nichola Mitakda

Indonesian agriculture isn’t as ‘green’ as planned

Indonesia’s agricultural policies aim to reduce the environmental footprint but actions are incomplete, creating a gap between aspirations and reality   Indonesia has embraced sustainable agriculture through a variety of national strategies, such as National Agenda 21, national...

Field visit, Doan Ket village, Son La, Northwest Viet Nam Photo Tran Phong

New coordinated research initiative launched in Viet Nam

The Humidtropics’ Research for Development Platform for Northwest Viet Nam will help focus national and world attention on the region to address major challenges   The Humidtropics’ Research for Development (R4D) Platform in the Northwest of Viet Nam...

agroforestry trial, Northwest Viet Nam

Agroforests set to replace monocrops in Northwest Viet Nam

Land degradation owing to monocropping is the main reason for reduced agricultural productivity in Northwest Viet Nam. But after four years of agroforestry research, results show positive signs for farmers.   Monocropping of annuals—such as maize, rice and...

Linking fertilizer subsidies to sustainable farming with trees

A proposed new platform to link Southern Africa’s fertilizer subsidies to sustainable farming practices could be key to reversing the region’s land degradation crisis. The platform – which would be jointly sponsored by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)...

The winning combination for scaling up sustainable intensification in farming

Around the world, farmers are conservative by nature, and with very good reason. A rich farmer who makes a serious mistake risks losing his farm to the bank. A smallholder risks much worse: famine for her children. Anyone...

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