c.watson@cgiar.org'

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.

‘Income that surpasses the waiting’: in dire need of trees, Malawi tries woodlots, bees, bamboo

Success in rejuvenating land through forest-based enterprises has had dramatic outcomes for farmers. In the late afternoon in the highlands of Malawi, the air is chilly as the sun descends. But the welcome is warm. A group of...

Technologies to enhance and monitor soil carbon for Africa

Healthy soil is critical for productive agriculture in Africa. To address declining health, countries are sharing knowledge and learning about new technologies.

GEF-funded program on resilient food security targets smallholder farmers in 12 African countries

Africa’s population is expected to double from 1.26 billion today to over two and half billion by 2050, little more than 30 years from now. At the same time, land degradation, loss of biodiversity and the effects of...

What will it take to restore 100 million hectares of land in Africa?

Never before in the history of mankind have we been challenged to shape our own survival —Wanjira Mathai The challenge is massive, but so is the promise. Healing 100 million hectares of degraded and deforested land in Africa...

Success factors for land and water management in Africa

At present, large expanses of land in rural Africa are degraded as a result of over extraction of trees for timber, firewood and charcoal. The problem is exacerbated by poor crop and animal husbandry practices, such as growing...

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...

Mapping Malawian farmers’ vulnerability to the impacts of climate shocks

Unprecedented floods experienced in Malawi in early 2015 left a trail of destruction in the central and southern parts of the country. Higher frequency of related incidents together with episodes of drought threaten agriculture-dependent livelihoods and the economy...

The global agroforestry challenge

The world’s leaders have been set the challenge of restoring more than 350 million hectares by 2030. Researchers see agroforestry as the key to making it happen.   ‘Around 20–25% of global land is degraded, affecting 1.5 billion...

The right tree for the right place: vegetationmap4africa v2 includes smartphone app

Tree enthusiasts on the move can now identify species as they go, and at the same time gain a deeper understanding of their natural environment, thanks to a new version of vegetationmap4africa (www.vegetationmap4africa.org). The new version of the...

More money and less risk for African eco-farmers

  A Greenpeace study in Malawi and Kenya has revealed that chemically-intensive farming hurts the bottom line of small-scale farmers; agroecological farming is more profitable. Agroecology refers to a suite of sustainable farming practices that use few or...

BLEANSA: The makings of an evergreen agriculture info hub for Southern Africa

At a session of the recent Beating Famine Southern Africa Conference, Isaac Nyoka, Coordinator of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Southern Africa Node, discussed BLEANSA, short for Building a Large Evergreen Agriculture Network for Southern Africa. BLEANSA is a...

The twin promise of food and bioenergy security in Africa

People everywhere have needs that exceed the basics of food and shelter. They seek fulfillment and happiness and a better future for their children. Farmers seek better yields for less labour, and better nutrition for less cash. All...