@yoedkenett it really takes a concentrated local effort involving the communities, and usually starts out small, so that a few farmers get on board while their neighbors and the rest of the community is cautious and merely observing - which is understandable, when their livelihoods depend on changing their practices there is a lot at stake. So the effort starts small, with los of communication, local information sessions, training, supply of materials, and the personal human element of trust. Over time, as those first few projects prove to be effective and successful, others are much more willing to get on board and that is how it scales. If there are not yet cooperatives, then that is also a great first step, so that the farmers understand the value of collaboration, supporting each other, and ultimately having some safety through the cooperative if they have a season that is less fruitful. Once a coop strategy and communication networks are in place, it becomes more feasible to introduce new methods based in agroforestry, conservation, reforestation, etc.
Yes, there is a waiting period for food-producing trees in the first few years, and one way to scale the impatience is to start out small, let’s say on just a small area of the farmer’s land, and after about 3 years or whatever is that timeframe depending on the crop, they start to see the results and the economic and nutritional value, then they become eager and willing to expand.
My organization is focused on reforestation, so we don’t focus our resources on halting deforestation directly, however the two are intricately linked. Deforestation in South America is often caused by agricultural industries, who not only buy large swaths of land that they deforest for their own use (a political issue in terms of the legality to allow this), but those industries also lease the lands of farmers, deforest and spray with lots of pesticides, plant a mono-crop for the quickest possible return, take the harvest, and then leave the farmer with degraded land. While the political issue of agribusiness is a huge one to tackle with governments, forming cooperatives and training farmers that their land can be more valuable to them by not leasing to agribusiness and instead by planting food-producing trees and conserving the land would be a way to reduce that form of deforestation. Additionally, it’s important that there are market channels for them to sell those harvests at a good price. Expanding the reach and model of Fair Trade systems and markets could be helpful in this regard.