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Agroforestry: Good for Yields, Environment, and Economic

Hi, everyone!

Hope you and your family are doing good.

Indri here from THINK-Research Team ^^

As I wrote in the title, I will share about agroforestry. If you have followed for a long time, you should know that we wrote and presented about agroforestry at many events. Let me share some of our blogs that already explained agroforestry activities:

In this workshop, and other participants discussed Agroforestry and Organic Fertilizers for Indonesian Low Carbon Development Plan. There was a presentation to introduce agroforestry in Indonesia as an alternative for monoculture as it is not yet prevalent. Agroforestry has the potential to absorb 30 million tons of carbon in Indonesia. Aside from decarbonizing, agroforestry can improve soil fertility, create more resilient crops, and enhance habitat diversity. It also increases economic stability and assists the reduction of smallholder farmer’s vulnerability to the effects of climate change by improving production and diversifying enterprises with greater income distribution over time.

2. An Online Event with Hutan Itu Indonesia:

I remember that in the event, there were some questions regarding agroforestry practices in some regions in Indonesia. Many farmers across Indonesia have practised with their own traditional name specialised to the type of plants suitable in their geographical areas, such as Repong Damar in Lampung, Tembawang in Kalimantan and Talun Plantation in West Java. Agroforestry practices are ideal because of their ecological and socio-economic benefits in providing economic stability and reducing climate change vulnerability for smallholder farmers.

3. Agroforestry Practice in Bajawa Coffee Plantation:

So, you might hear that agroforestry is a traditional, ancient, or old way to protect our environment. If you talk to indigenous people, they do know how to do sustainable forest or land management and agroforestry is one of the ways. In Bajawa, the farmers don't only plant shade trees with coffee trees in the forest, they have vegetable plants as well. In the previous time, their great grandparents brought vegetables as gifts every time they got back from the forest. So, we can say that agroforestry is part of their culture for a long time ago.

In addition, I found this article when I was doing a literature review:

The title is so interesting: If agroforestry is so good, why doesn't everyone do it?

This article answered what kind of barriers in agroforestry implementation. This question has been broadly discussed during the World Agroforestry Congress 2019, and here are five barriers to agroforestry adoption and ways to overcome them:

  1. A transition will require a coordinated effort and a supportive enabling environment. So, we can say that change is always a risk. Farmers or other land users might know the advantages and benefits of agroforestry. However, farmers who have to switch from accustomed practices to something they haven’t tried before perceive it as a risk, no matter the promised increases in yields.

  2. Successful agroforestry implementation needs to consider values and norms and let the trust grow on the foundation of mutual understanding. The trust issue is a common issue. Everyone has their own trust issue. For example, someone has a trust issue with the government and policy or a student has a trust issue with the teacher. Farmers might know how to farm with agroforestry and its benefits. However, more often than not, agroforestry interventions lack an understanding of the social context and people’s values. So, I remember when we did a stakeholder interview, he said that the successful project in West Java depends on community awareness and understanding.

  3. The official agriculture and forestry policies need to include specific land use conditions to enable agroforestry. We can say that it is a policy barrier. Issue of land tenure is so central in agroforestry. Many agroforestry projects have failed because farmers have small or even no right to the land they live off. For example, if people live in a rural village nearby a conserved or protected forest, the landowner issue might be a problem.

  4. When agroforestry activities can create a market for the product, it will bring a real impact on the livelihoods in the community. So, underutilized product/plant needs better marketing. For example, in West and East Java, there are agroforestry projects. It helps create various products in one area, such as coffee and cardamom, requiring shade to grow. Another opportunity also arises, in which currently the cardamom market demand is increasing. At those projects, we can find that the crops that were not intentioned as the major commodity of agroforestry would also result in a new opportunity.

  5. Agroforestry is extremely context-specific. So, for example in the LANDMARC project, we assess the risks of upscaling LMT (land mitigation technologies) from a local to regional and national level. We can implement agroforestry successfully at a farm in West Java, but it might be different if we want to implement it in East Kalimantan.

So, if I can ask, do you have any other barriers in implementing agroforestry? Could you give an example as well?

That's all. Thank you for reading :D

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Semi-structured Interview Questions

This list of questions was utilised to conduct our European Commission H2020 research project, TIPPING+, in understanding narrative-network dynamics in tipping processes towards low-carbon energy futu


Slightly connected to the first point, some of farmers surely have their traditional way of cultivating the land and respect what they took over from their ancestors.


Sarah Wibisono
Sarah Wibisono
Jul 23, 2021

Probably the most influential barriers on limiting implementation of agroforestry is costs of establishing tree and the lack of tree management


Shadrina Ramadhani
Shadrina Ramadhani
Jul 23, 2021

I think we can also to think about incentives? Many farmers would have gone through several difficulties (at first) when they change into agroforestry.


Jul 23, 2021

I think this also connects to the first point. Agroforestry will only yield seasonally, so diversifying the crops would be needed. Growing different plants means they would need more knowledge, more capital, and more effort to maintain. It is understandable that the farmers will chose a fast growing crops that will give return in shorter time (such as planting rice).


The common single year crop has local market value, so easier to sell. Agroforestry crops such as coffee and cacao are more difficult to sell for farmers.

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