Trees of prosperity: Agroforestry, markets and the African smallholder uri icon

abstract

  • In many developing countries, especially in Africa, farmers have been introduced to agroforestry with little consideration for the markets for trees and tree products aside from potential productivity gains to food crops. It is now being recognized that expanding market opportunities for smallholders particularly in niche markets and high value products is critical to the success of agroforestry innovations. Some recent work presented in this paper on marketing agroforestry products in Africa, linking farmers to markets and assisting farmer organizations, shows how constraints are tied to both long-standing market structures as well as shifting market imperatives. Forest policy, physical and social barriers to smallholder participation in markets, the overall lack of information at all levels on markets for agroforestry products, and the challenges to outgrowing schemes and contract farming inhibit the growth of the smallholder tree product sector in Africa outside of traditional products. Notwithstanding these constraints, there are promising developments including contract fuelwood schemes, small-scale nursery enterprises, charcoal policy reform, novel market information systems, facilitating and capacity building of farmer and farm forest associations, and collaboration between the private sector, research and extension

publication date

  • 2004
  • 2004