Skip to content
Start of page content below the header

Can Agroforestry Address Food Security Concerns in a Changing Climate?

Do agroforestry systems produce more and a greater range of ecosystem services than segregated agriculture and forestry systems? Agroforestry practices and multi-functional landscapes have recently returned to the forefront of discussion in response to challenges of the conventional agriculture systems.

All cases highlighted the importance of listening to farmers and understanding their needs, motivations and constraints as well as the need to pick up and facilitate the empowerment instruments suitable for a particular context. As size and value of an agroforestry project are often small, it is important to be realistic of what agroforestry can deliver and not view agroforestry as a panacea.

Developed as part of the cooperation between SIANI and Focali, this Discussion Brief, draws on the case studies from Sri Lanka, Ecuador, Nepal and Kenya. It elaborates on the key points of the discussion around agroforestry, food security and climate change and offers a policy advice for development of agroforestry.

Key Findings:

  1. A sustainable approach to agroforestry expansion and intensification should promote long-term gains, not only short-term outputs. 

  2. Scaling up agroforestry systems takes time and effort. Clear policies and their effective enforcement as well as the choice of empowerment instruments should suit local context and should take into account local needs in terms of social, historical, cultural, and ecological aspects.

  3. Livelihoods, income and food security of the farmers are the priority. Listening to farmers and understanding their needs, motivations and constraints is key. Potential incomes from climate mitigation strategies can only be a co-benefit.

  4. There is not enough research about trade-offs, synergies, and risks between the preferred choices made by individual farmers and those options that are most preferable from climate mitigation or an ecosystem services perspective.

  5. Creating incentives and institutional support for creation of global niche and bulk markets is essential. Private sector investment incentives could be made through improved land tenure for farmers, well developed long-term management strategies and reduced institutional barriers to market access.


Download this publication: