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18 January 2021

Agroforestry, food security and nutrition

This brief developed by the Agroforestry Network focuses on the role of agroforestry for food security and nutrition, including the importance of gender equality and recognition of indigenous and local knowledge and traditional crop varieties.

Malnutrition is a major global challenge, not least in the parts of the world that also suffer from poverty. At the same time, the climate crisis and other environmental changes disproportionately affect people in the Global South. Scaling up agroforestry can contribute to food and nutrition security, while contributing to more sustainable and resilient food production systems.

Recommendations for policy and practice:

  • Support the development of agroforestry and other diverse production systems, rather than single crop systems, in order to meet seasonal food needs, enhance the availability of more nutritious foods and increase farm adaptive capacity
  • Bridge the disconnect between nutrition and agriculture by working across sectors and creating systems that have nutritional outcomes in focus
  • Promote a shift of focus from quantity production to quality and nutritional content, incentivising producers to produce nutritious food crops and plant trees
  • Advocate involvement and empowerment of women in agroforestry systems for improved food and nutritional security
  • Develop site-specific interventions adjusted to local knowledge, preferences, needs and constraints
  • Support documentation and revitalisation of local knowledge and domestication of indigenous species and varieties for agroforestry (including material for propagation/gene bank)
  • Translate available knowledge, including nutritional values of fruits and nuts, into practical guidelines, recipes, etc. to encourage consumption of the food produced
  • Increase research funding towards integrated solutions such as agroforestry and other agroecological approaches, including participatory and farmer-led research to address nutritional, climate, livelihood and environmental challenges combined

Read our summary of this brief.


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