New policies needed to promote agroforestry

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Young boy with child on his back harvesting coffee berries in Malawi.

Millions of people could escape poverty, hunger and environmental degradation if countries put more effort into promoting agroforestry, an integrated approach combining trees with crop or livestock production, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation – FAO said Tuesday.

In a new guide published today and aimed at decision-makers, key policy advisors, NGOs and governmental institutions, FAO shows how agroforestry can be integrated into national strategies and how policies can be adjusted to specific conditions. The policy guide provides examples of best practices and success stories, as well as lessons learned from challenges and failures.

The Director of FAO’s Forest Assessment, Management and Conservation Division, Eduardo Mansur, says “In many countries the potential of agroforestry to enrich farmers, communities and industry has not been fully exploited" adding that “Despite the numerous benefits of agroforestry, the sector is largely hampered by adverse policies, legal constraints and lack of coordination between the sectors to which it contributes, namely, agriculture, forestry, rural development, environment and trade.”

FAO says the agroforestry sector is a significant source both of local commodities such as fuelwood, timber, fruit and fodder for livestock as well as global ones such as coconut, coffee, tea, rubber and gum. Almost half the world’s agricultural land has at least 10 percent tree cover, making agroforestry critical to the livelihoods of millions.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’27″

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