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26 May 2020

Agroforestry value chains and market systems

By linking trees and agriculture, agroforestry enables female and male farmers to generate a diversified income from the production of a variety of agricultural products. These products can be produced from trees, and from countless combinations of trees or shrubs, agricultural crops and often livestock products as part of the agroforestry system. One agroforestry farm can for example produce mango, coffee, macadamia nuts, timber, honey, beans and fodder for dairy cattle.

At the same time agroforestry systems protect and conserve biodiversity, soil, water, wildlife habitats and other natural resources. Apart from increased climate change resilience and mitigation potential, an important benefit for agroforestry farmers is strengthened economic resilience, as agroforestry offers multiple streams of income from different sources and at different times. This policy brief, developed by the Agroforestry Network, gives an overview of agroforestry value chains and market systems, describes the current market barriers and gives recommendations on how these barriers could be resolved, exemplified in successful case studies.

Recommendations for strengthening the value chains of agroforestry products:

  • Establish fair market connections by focusing on linking farmers, with specific attention to vulnerable and marginalised groups, to local markets and using regional and export markets for top quality/niche products.
  • Enable knowledge exchange and capacity building by ensuring adequate extension services and technical assistance, as well as supporting smallholder farmers to organise themselves in order to access markets.
  • Improve the communication with the end consumer by supporting the marketing of agroforestry products, add value using specific labels (different labeling can be suitable for different markets) and ensure the products are traceable and trustworthy.
  • Develop clear institutional mandates and strong coordination between stakeholders in the market system to facilitate long-term engagement and investments.


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