Scaling up agroforestry

A woman holds an acacia seedling at a plantation in DRC
Acacia plantation near Moussa, Yangambi, DRC
Axel Fassio/CIFOR

For the food security and income benefits of agroforestry to be realized, governments and other institutions need to integrate support for it into policies and programs.

Why is the tool important?

Smallholder farmers with less than 5 hectares of land produce 44–48% of the world’s food. Many of these farmers live in poverty, are malnourished, have insecure food supplies, and have no access to machinery or agricultural chemicals to grow better crops.

Agroforestry—farming a combination of crops, trees and livestock—offers a way to alleviate poverty, and improve incomes and food security. It also offers ecosystem services such as providing wood for fuel, supporting biodiversity, reducing erosion, absorbing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it, and reducing pressure on forests for the same products that farmed trees produce.

Who is the tool for?

Scaling Up Agroforestry summarizes the benefits of agroforestry; the barriers to using it; and ways forward for policymakers, governments and developmental organizations that design policies and programs to support agriculture and development among people living in poverty.

Country of focus: World, particularly the tropics, with case studies in Brazil, Kenya, Laos, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda and Tanzania

How can I use the tool?

The tool is useful to understand the benefits of agroforestry as an integral part of agriculture, particularly among women farmers who live in poverty in the tropics, and to understand the barriers to scaling it up across landscapes. It is also useful for showing ways of addressing the barriers to and improving the use of agroforestry. It is particularly useful in the context of improving equality for women, climate change, food security, and improving access to finance and extension services.

When and how was it developed?

The Agroforestry Network of Sweden and its partners published this summary of the scientific literature and reports on agroforestry projects, along with semi-structured interviews with agroforestry experts and others. It was published in 2018.

Where can I get the tool? Who can I contact?

Download Scaling Up Agroforestry

Contact Agroforestry Network, Sweden: