The cooperation between our faculty and ICRAF (World Agroforestry Centre) is the logical outcome of more than two decades of research and development of agroforestry projects in various regions of the world (namely Peruvian Amazon, central Vietnam or Fergana valley in Central Asia). In 2015, prof. Zbyněk Polesný participated in Central Asia’s first supra-regional workshop on Agroforestry in Kunming China, in 2017 prof. Bohdan Lojka signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ICRAF headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. All the efforts culminated one year ago in Montpellier on World Congress on Agroforestry, where was our faculty represented by five members!
The cooperation between ICRAF and FTA is recently linked mainly to domestication efforts on two indigenous African species – Adansonia digitata (baobab) and Garcinia kola (bitter kola). But more projects are quickly emerging, thanks to our new PhD students from Cameroon and Ghana! At this moment, the portfolio of species also includes Vitelaria paradoxa (shea tree) and Allanblackia parviflora (allanblackia).
In February 2020, two members of our faculty - Vladimír Verner and Anna Maňourová, visited ICRAF regional office for West and Central Africa in Yaoundé, Cameroon. This country is considered as a flag bearer in participatory tree domestication and on-farm tree diversity conservation for over three decades. They aim to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers through increased incomes and other benefits from indigenous perennials.
During several meetings, we agreed on encouraging institutional cooperation, which would be also supported by signing a specific MoU for this region. With this bolster, we hope to spur the creation of new joint projects (linking farmers with trees, agroforestry, tree domestication, homegardens, etc.) as well as students/staff exchange.
Therefore, we would like to encourage students, who are willing to collect data abroad and get involved in ICRAF, to firstly search on the webpages to find out the topics ICRAF provides and then contact Anna (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information about the possibilities of research internships, particularly in the West and Central Africa region.
Even in the times of Covid-19 spread, keep your head up and think about your academic future! Thank you and “ashia” (courage) as they say in Cameroon .)