PGI is a leading organization addressing pressing needs for change with pragmatic solutions to one of our planet's most troubling problems — modern agriculture — and its extraordinary influence on our climate, the beauty and diversity of the natural world, and animals.
We don't need to be so cautious about change. We can work to protect nature through a redefining idea: the building of care for our environment, its creatures and our climate into new infrastructure for agriculture in projects that grow sustainable forests, domesticate trees and plants on a large scale, preserve habitats for wildlife, protect migratory routes for birds, and harness nature's immense ability to store carbon — a broad new approach that protects our planet's natural resources and the well-being of animals.
Project Countries: Mozambique and Canada, with plans to expand into South and Southeast Asia.
The Next Generation of Agriculture
Mozambique Carbon Project
PROJECT: A tree domestication program that brings groundbreaking new possibilities to agriculture, creates a carbon-sequestering food system, and protects our forests and threatened wildlife.
SITE 1: 10,000 hectares, Gaza Province, Southern Mozambique
SITE 2: PGI-National Park initiative to develop plant-based agrarian reform programs without conflict between wildlife and livestock, to protect sensitive habitats for animals, and to help communities become allies in nature conservation.
MEANINGFUL, LASTING CHANGE
REDEFINING INGENUITY IN AGRICULTURE: An innovative approach to agriculture is imperative to respond to the challenges of climate change, loss of wildlife habitats, environmental degradation and lack of innovative economic opportunities for local communities. The project goal is to establish new relationships between agriculture and nature, to change the model of farming, and to integrate it into global chains of production.
- This 10-year plant-based project recreates rural landscapes for biological conservation and diversity, environmental regeneration and climate mitigation.
- Forests around the world have lost as much as 80 percent of their trees as land is cleared for agriculture, mining, the building of roads and economic development. Project introduces an innovative tree domestication program to scale up underused local species of trees that are candidates for a new wave of crop domestication. There are ideas in the forest that need to be adopted into agriculture, because with nothing, plants can do everything. How do forests sustain themselves without irrigation, without pesticides, without oil-based fertilizers, not even herbicides? They are self-sustaining systems. Forests do not need to be cleared for the expansion of agriculture to feed growing human populations, bringing problems that cascade into critical habitats and some of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth. They are ecosystems that contain energy, mulching material and many commodities like foods, pharmaceuticals and oils that can take us far ahead of current models of agriculture.
- Focuses on the key role of soil organic carbon in the fertility of soils and agroecosystems. Soils contain the largest pool of carbon interacting with the atmosphere. Increasing soil organic carbon enhances soil quality, improves agricultural resilience, and creates an effective carbon sink.
- Moves from monoculture grains to polyculture, with growing methods for perennial grains, fruits, roots and vegetables on a large scale.
- Plants grasses, bushes, trees that check evaporation, moderate heat and provide wind breaks that protect crops while creating corridors for wildlife to move between patches of forest; intersperses trees with cropland to protect soils, diversify production and provide habitats and food for wildlife.
- By 2050 there will be 2 billion more people in the world than we have now, with most of the increase occurring in developing countries that are beginning to consume more beef, chicken, pork, fish, and dairy products. A pound of meat requires a tremendous amount of water because farmers use water-intensive crops like corn and soy to feed each animal. The world is projected to face a 40% freshwater deficit in just 12 years (WWAP, 2012). Nearly 30% of all our global freshwater consumption is used for livestock (directly, for pastures, and through crops to feed them), an inefficient food system that strains and depletes natural resources we depend upon for existence. Project introduces a low-technology strategy that works well in areas without electricity or running water, operates on reduced water supply, and uses propagators that are effective in moist and dry tropics. Diversification between drought-resistant plants, crops, trees and pasture also give a buffer to a farmer’s vulnerability.
- Uses farm resources like feed by-products to improve income and enhance nutrient and carbon cycling processes.
- Selects traits and breeds warm-season perennial grasses for soil fertility improvement.
- Promotes gender equality and the important role of women and girls as key catalysts for change
- Addresses the critical problem of trees used for production of charcoal
Mozambique has suffered through a series of calamities that have aggravated its poverty. According to the UNDP Human Development Index, Mozambique remains in 180th position of a total of 188 countries and territories ranked for poverty, one of the lowest in the Southern Africa development community. Beyond its beautiful coastal panoramas, desertification is severe. Mozambique has nutrient-poor soils that limit its agricultural potential, and Mozambicans have few income-generating alternatives to agriculture.
In Northern Mozambique, where the Brazilian government and private sector firms are collaborating with Japan to develop a large-scale agribusiness project, already fragile agriculture and food security systems are under siege. The project, called ProSavana, will make 14 million hectares of land available to Brazilian agribusiness companies for the production of soybeans, maize and other commodity crops that will be exported by Japanese multinationals.
The ProSavana project is poised to disrupt a region of enormous biological importance. Mozambique's woodland reserves house some of the world's rarest creatures. Despite the restoration of the black rhinoceros in Mozambique in the last decades, in early 2013 it was again reported as extinct, and poachers have now turned their attention to elephants, which are also teetering on the brink of extinction.