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Agricultural Biodiversity in Smallholder Farms of East Africa
Fidelis Kaihura and Michael Stocking

The rich biodiversity of plants found in smallholder farms in Africa is a storehouse of food, fuel and fibre. This biodiversity provides not only food and beverages and marketable produce, but also supports communities by producing a range of valuable resources from medicines to construction material.

Smallholder farmers are the guardians as well as the beneficiaries of a greater diversity of biological species than can be found in protected areas. The farmersEdiverse practices are conserving these species for the benefit of future generations. In turn, agricultural biodiversity is a primary way for the poor to cope with difficult biophysical environments and precarious social and political circumstances.

This book documents how the smallholder farmers of East Africa - in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda - are playing their part in the global agenda for the conservation, sustainable use and the equitable sharing of the benefits of biodiversity.

The United Nations University PLEC project, funded by the Global Environment Facility under the provisions for the Convention on Biological Diversity, is showing how the accumulated knowledge and experience of smallholders and their diverse practices leads to clear benefits for both biodiversity and society. This book draws on lessons learned from farmers, researchers, extension staff, policy-makers and aid agencies co-operating and actively supporting PLEC demonstration sites in East Africa. It shows the very real potential of learning from farmers and basing policy on tried and tested ways of managing complex agricultural systems.

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