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Policy change crucial to agroforestry success

This article from New Agriculturist says that in many governance policies worldwide, agroforestry is not within the agriculture or forestry portfolio. ICRAF and other organisations have noted that these policy inconsistencies have had a negative impact on small holders.

To work towards smallholders gaining the full benefits of agroforestry, ICRAF introduced the Agroforestry Policy Initiative last year. The Policy Initiative aims to give communities control over their trees, allowing time-tested systems of agroforestry to flourish.

It is reported that ultimately, for an effective agroforestry policy, multinational creation of policy platforms is necessary. These platforms need to address national and local policies across multiple sectors - forestry, agriculture, environment, commerce and land.

Around the world, there are signs that policy makers are beginning to look favourably on agroforestry. Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry reportedly declared the village of Lubuk Beringin in Sumatra as the first Hutan Desa (village forest) in Indonesia, giving residents the right to manage a watershed protection forest and enabling local communities to receive payments for protecting environmental services. The pilot project was based on ICRAF research and was, in turn, part of the inspiration for the Agroforestry Policy Initiative.

"So this policy change has come slowly, first with pilot tests. Yet change has come, and as the Agroforestry Policy Initiative joins more governments in imagining a new agroforestry policy, the conditions under which farmers solve problems with trees will continue to change" says ICRAF Impact Assessment Advisor Frank Place.

Read the full article by T. Paul Cox here.

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