​Sida Agroforestry is a Community Interest Company, set-up to collaborate with farmers and other landowners to design and build co-beneficial agroforestry systems around Sida hermaphrodita, a plant described in detail here.  


The shared benefits will enable dairy, beef, sheep and poultry farmers to reduce livestock and operational emissions of Greenhouse Gases, while producing raw materials that will be used to manufacture the next-generation of zero-carbon building materials and food that can support the creation of localised ​supply chains.

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Work in Progress
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Work in Progress
Our Community Interest Statement

Company number:  13263379
Company type: Private Limited by Guarantee

There are benefits to planting trees...

Sida hermaphrodita

but those benefits are enhanced when tree planting is combined with growing Sida.

Sida hermaphrodita - Virginia fanpetals


Sida hermaphrodita, also known as Virginia fanpetals, is a native of the southern parts of North America where it is now considered to be endangered due to its poor ability to regenerate from seed.

The plant belongs to the mallow (Malvaceae) family and is a polycarpic perennial with shoots which die out annually. Once established, Sida can live for between 20-30years before being ploughed and replanted.

Sida was first studied by Russian botanists in the 1930s to assess its utilisation potential as a soil stabiliser, fodder crop, honey plant, and fibre plant for the pulp and paper industry.

Currently there are more than 600 hectares of Sida being grown across Europe. That area is expected to increase to more than 50,000 hectares by 2030 as the incredible benefits that this plant offers become more widely appreciated by our farmers.

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The practice of deliberately integrating woody vegetation

(trees or shrubs) with crop and/or animal systems to

benefit from the resulting ecological and economic interactions.

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The Committee on Climate Change published its report, Land Use: Reducing Emissions and Preparing for Climate Change, in November 2018.  The report calls for the planting of 5,000 - 10,000 ha of silvoarable agroforestry and 7,500 - 15,000 ha of silvopastoral agroforestry across the UK annually.

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click to download


By adopting more progressive methods of management to existing woodlands and hedgerows, with the addition of efficient agroforestry systems, farmers can secure benefits that would not be available under more traditional systems of farming.   

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This document focuses specifically on providing real cost, income, and management benefits to farmers.  It details a unique approach to treating methane and carbon emissions in the dairy, beef, poultry and sheep industry through the adoption of more progressive systems of land management integrating agroforestry for feed and biomass, woodland management, biodiversity measures, biochar, slurry/manure management and biogas. 


Ultimately, the aim is to reduce emissions via climate-adaptive methods of resource management that reduce methane and carbon emissions and lock up carbon in products and in the soil and promote biodiversity on the farm.

Click to download
Agroforestry and biochar for beef
and dairy farms in Wales

This plan has been adopted by the Welsh Government's

'Green Recovery Delivery Partnership' as a 'prioritised

action for a green recovery'.

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press release

Goldsland Farm to host UK's first Sida-based agroforestry trial



UK retailers are increasing their commitments to environmental sustainability targets and reducing their Carbon footprint.  This is now requiring many dairy farms to utilise alternative protein sources to soya, while maintaining cow performance and health.

With major retailers such as Marks & Spencer and Waitrose eliminating soya from their milk-supply pools - and with an estimated 250,000 tonnes of soya used in dairy feeds in the UK - this requirement is likely to be followed by other retailers and processors in 2021. 

Imported soya has been linked to thousands of forest fires and at least 300 sq miles (800 sq km) of tree clearance in the Brazilian Cerrado.

Sida hermaphrodita sequesters about 40-tonnes of

Carbon dioxide (CO2e) per hectare annually (1).

Over its 30yr lifespan, a single hectare of Sida hermaphrodita will produce up to 2,000 tonnes of green biomass.  If that biomass was used to replace soya as animal-feed then it could save up to 33,000 tonnes of CO2e from our overseas land footprint (2).



1. Pers comm - Dr Roman Molas (paper in progress).

2. Life-cycle greenhouse gas assessment of soybeans

   Click to enlarge images.

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Small trial plots of Sida established in Wales and Killarney (Eire) to test growing conditions.  Trials prove successful..


Commercial strains of Sida imported from Ukraine and Russia and planted in trial plot in Wales.  Trial successful.  Research programme established.


Design of Sida-based agroforestry system.  Document distributed widely to obtain feedback. 


Plan adopted by Welsh Government 'Green Recovery Delivery Partnership' as a prioritised action for a green recovery.

Plan discussed with several farmers in Wales to understand concerns of adopting agroforestry.

Detailed discussions with Natural Resources Wales aimed at obtaining support for development of sida-based agroforestry in Wales.

Establish 'mother-plantation' as source for future planting.  Establish sida-based agroforestry system in Wales.  Begin trials as cattle-feed and research opportunities to develop low-carbon building materials.  Reach agreement with local farmers to collaborate to develop agroforestry sites to be planted in 2022.


From 2022 onward, we will be looking to collaborate with farmers in Wales to grow Sida at commercial scales. 


Interested in finding out more? 


Do get in touch

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