Category: Africa – Eastern

Cathy Watson

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 almost 30 years of work experience in Africa with a focus on trees, youth, HIV, families, and communication for social change. She holds a certificate in agroforestry from the University of Missouri.

Alex Oduor and Malesu Maimbo, water engineers from the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), talk with Khat farmers in Embu. Khat cultivation is severely impacting water availability yet is lucrative for farmers. Photo D Odhiambo/ICRAF

Resolving the khat conundrum: when a profitable crop has downsides

With European markets closed to the khat grown in one Kenyan county, khat grown in another county is making inroads into coffee, tea and forest. Environmental damage is escalating. Fortunately, researchers from the World Agroforestry Centre have a...

Promoting early-maturing, oil-rich shea trees and holding off the charcoal threat

In Europe and the US, shea butter or oil is a famous skin cream. But shea is even more important as the main cooking oil for the band of 21 African countries that stretches West to East from...

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...

The A to Z of soil biodiversity

The soil is the “living, breathing skin of our planet.” It is the basis of food production and essential for clean water, health, greenhouse gas capture and numerous other functions that support life on earth. Soil biodiversity is...

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...

An agroforestry view on crop modelling

Global food and development policies are increasingly being supported by crop models, but current modelling approaches are unfit for this purpose. The models in use, many of which were developed in the 1970s and 1980s for high-input monoculture...