Policy reform needed to realize agroforestry potential
A new Agroforestry Policy Initiative could result in millions of dollars worth of income unlocked for poor farmers in developing countries.
The World Agroforestry Centre launched the Initiative during the XXIII World Congress of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations in Seoul, Korea. Involving a wide range of partners, the Initiative would make agroforestry a key contributor to ensuring food security, reducing poverty and combating climate change.
"This Initiative will support national and local policy reforms that will reduce barriers and improve incentives for private investment in agroforestry," said Dennis Garrity, Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre.
"Agroforestry can deliver a wide range of benefits. It can enhance food security, improve rural livelihoods, make better use of scarce rainwater and absorb atmospheric carbon."
Revising outdated policies and forest regulations will allow farmers in many countries to take full advantage of growing trees on farms, providing them with a lucrative source of income.
Agroforestry is both a contemporary and an age-old practice, but there are many missed opportunities to further enrich the lives of smallholder farmers. Underinvestment in agroforestry comes about because of poverty levels and the risks faced by smallholder communities, together with poor information flow, germplasm availability, credit, and markets. These are all factors that policy changes can address.
Improved policies would see better coordination among different ministries such as Agriculture, Environment, Forestry, Water and Lands. This would promote clear tenure rights to land, forests, and trees, thus improving farmer access to agroforestry information and germplasm, and creating integrated competitive markets free from exploitation and abuse by monopolies, unreasonable taxation and access barriers.
Almost half the agricultural land in the world, about a billion hectares, has more than 10 percent tree cover, but there is still huge potential to increase the number of trees on farmland and improve their productivity. Incorporating trees within farming landscapes, or agroforestry, can increase soil fertility, raise and sustain yields, increase income through the sale of timber and other tree products, and produce fodder and fuelwood.
See the full media release: Policy reform to stop discrimination against farm trees could help poor farmers out of poverty