Kihamba farmers meeting, Shimbwe Juu Village (Tanzania)
The Kihamba system stands out among other agro-forestry systems as one of the most sustainable forms of upland farming found world-wide. Without undermining sustainability, it supports one of the highest rural population densities in Africa, supporting the livelihoods of an estimated population of 1 million people.
It provides substantive environmental services to the wider Kilmanjaro region, and even to the global community. Because of its high biomass and on farm recycling of organic matter, it contributes significantly to carbon storage.
As such, it is a major example of climate-smart agriculture. Its density of trees and other vegetation allow it also to contribute significantly to the role of Kilimanjaro as a water-tower for the region. Urban communities and commercial farms in the lowlands surrounding Mt. Kilimanjaro critically depend on this. Its sustainable management of soils prevents erosion on the mountain steep slopes.
Finally, the Kihamba family plots remain central to the social cohesion and cultural identity of the Chagga tribe.
(c)FAO/David Boerma. Photo credit must be given.