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Agroforest systems (AFS) are agricultural techniques that combine woody arboreal species (fruit-bearing and/or wood producing) with agricultural production. AFSs have the capacity to make degraded areas productive, preserving at the same time natural resources and providing food, wood, firewood and diverse vegetable essences. Since 1994 the Centro de Agricultura alternativa Vicente Nica -CAV (Vicente Nica Alternative Agriculture Center) and a group of 32 farmers/experimentators practice and divulge AFS in the Alto Jequitinhonha area, trying to develop a conservationist production alternative. This article analyzes the effects of this experience on rural extension, investigating how the practice of AFS, the mobilization of rural communities and environmental education among farmers influence the rural populations and the organizations that act in the rural environment. To achieve this, the study tried to understand how the farmers not participant in AFS perceive the practice and how the mediating organizations in the rural environment of the Alto Jequitinhonha area evaluate these experiences developed on a CAV basis, analyzing the wide rebound of an extensionist action upon a territory marked by the hegemonic presence of family agriculture. A qualitative investigation approach was used, through interviews with semi-structured questionnaires. The results show that farmers and rural organizations know about and connect with the experiments in the area, creating a synergetic performance network in the fields. In this way, the environmental multiplier effect of an experience originally strictly related to productive aspects is perceived. Combining productive, social and environmental themes, the originally technical questions are transformed into a watershed of initiatives that retro-feed a chain of initiatives of socio-political consequences that surpass the predictability of an extensionist action.


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