International Women’s Day 2014: Inspiring Change
Thursday, March 6, 2014
On 8th of March, the world celebrates International Women’s Day, as it has since 1911 when women were absolutely invisible in the public sphere of work and polity.
At the threshold of this 21st century, we have reason to celebrate as empirical evidence shows remarkable achievements of women in the economy, political sphere, and in social life.
But progress remains skewed.
Women in developing regions of the world disproportionately cluster at the bottom of the pyramid, constituting the majority of the world’s 1.3 billion poor. The more sobering reality is that the majority of these are rural smallholders eking out an existence on small diversified production systems in which shrubs and indigenous tree species are an integral component.
We know from research that women smallholders play tremendous roles in agroforestry, through fodder production for small livestock, woodlot management, biomass recycling for soil fertility management and tree products value chains.
We also know women smallholders are significant producers of orphan crops, many of which are fruit trees and legumes with huge nutritional benefits; and significant potential to increase soil biomass/ and sequester carbon. Research has shown that women smallholders tend to manage complex integrated production systems serving multiple functions and purposes. Their systems are designed to optimize the productivity of crop mixes on their farm to ensure stability and resilience.
Yet huge structural obstacles remain that limit women’s opportunities to optimally benefit from their participation:
They often hardly own the land they work on; recent statistics indicate that in Africa, for example, less than 20 percent of landholders are women; Yet studies have consistently shown a direct correlation between ownership of agricultural land and adoption of sustainable practices—including the growing of trees on farms that enhance and sustain the fertility of the soil and provide critical environmental services.
As we celebrate this day, we must pause a moment to reflect on how our research can make transforming contributions to their livelihoods and the wellbeing of women smallholders and their households. We recognize that addressing gender in agroforestry requires a robust strategy, specific guidelines, practical tools, and a capacity development that explicitly articulates gender training as a key output. That process has begun.
Our challenge now is to grow and sustain the momentum to make ICRAF a truly gender responsive organization, reflected in our research and development –and in our organizational practice, building a diverse and highly motivated staff community.
Wishing you all a very happy Women’s Day, 2014!
Assistant Director General
Partnerships, Capacity Development, Impact and Extension
World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
Goat rearing, an incentive for strengthening farmer groups: Lessons and experiences from Embu, Eastern Kenya
Thursday, March 6, 2014
The Strengthening Rural Institutions project (SRI) being implemented in three countries (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) in the Eastern and Southern Africa region, facilitated a two days field visit to 3 farmer groups in Embu, Kenya. ICRAF, through SRI, is supporting activities that provide farmers with the skills and knowledge to strengthen and promote their group activities.
A team of 6 site focal point persons and 4 ICRAF staff participated in the 2 day field trip. Discussions were facilitated by the Upper Tana Natural Resource Management (UTaNRM) project coordinator and the SRI Embu focal point person on the activities in the district, led by the farmers themselves. The group visited 2 goat rearing groups and 1 water irrigation scheme (Kirikithu Self-help Group, Kuvota Goat Rearing Group and Kamiu Kavanga Self-help Group respectively).
Goat rearing as exhibited by the two groups is an enterprise that has flourished; a litre of goats’ milk selling between KSh. 70 to 120 whereas that of a cow between KSh. 40 to 60. Furthermore, the quality of goat’s milk was mentioned to be much better than that of a cow as it “offers high prices, increase IQ in children and has a high nutritional value to people with HIV and AIDS”. This however is coupled with a challenge in adaptability since most people regard goat milk to have a bad “smell” hence would opt for cows’ milk instead. The ICRAF team however got a chance to take goats milk that was served by one of the groups’, countering the “smell” beliefs.
Additionally, farmers expressed their satisfaction and benefits accrued courtesy of the trainings administered by the SRI project such as leadership skills, development of group constitutions and by-laws that govern the group, goat rearing and management training including housing and appropriate fodder.
However, various factors need to be addressed to ensure desired outcomes are achieved such as exchange visits for lesson sharing and learning, soil and water conservation technologies/ know-how, enterprise development, value addition and processing.
Dr. Jonathan Muriuki appointed as Kenyan Country Representative for the East & Southern Africa region of ICRAF
Thursday, February 20, 2014
To the fraternity of Eastern and Southern Africa and the rest of ICRAF at large, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Jonathan Muriuki as the Country Representative for Kenya in response to the frequent requests by partners and collaborators to establish a liaison office for the agroforestry Research & Development agenda in the country. Dr. Muriuki will coordinate ICRAF’s Agroforestry research agenda in Kenya undertaking the following:
Jonathan is an agroforestry scientist with over 10 years of work experience in various aspects of the field and holds both a PhD and MSc in the same field. He has conducted research for development activities in agroforestry systems ranging from tree seed and seedling supply systems, farm productivity research with various categories of tree species notably fodder, medicinal, fertilizer trees and aspects of timber and fruit trees as well as tree product market related research. His research activities have spanned the entire Eastern Africa region and he has had brief assignments in some countries of southern and western regions as well. He also has experience in handling diverse stakeholders especially those involved with implementation of projects ranging from farming communities, Non-governmental Organizations, the private sector and national government partners. In addition, Jonathan has working experience with regards to preparation of project reports for donors, projects/programme finance and budgets as well as constituting and managing project and site teams both as a team leader and also a team player.
This appointment took effect from January 2014.
The East Africa Dairy Development Project (EADD) Phase II Launch in Uganda
Thursday, February 20, 2014
The phase II of the East Africa dairy development project is going to be a five year (2014-2018) dairy sector intervention designed to help 136,000 smallholder farm families to achieve improved livelihoods. It’s going to be implemented in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania by four international non-profit organisations which include the world agroforestry Centre (ICRAF); International livestock research institute (ILRI), Heifer international, Technoserve (TNS), and African breeders’ services (ABS) as has been the case of phase I.
In Uganda EADD phase II will primarily focus on achieving sustainability for phase I dairy hubs, while testing the approach in a few new areas. The project will also look at replication of the hub model for scalability, ensure gender equity and farmer sustainability among other things. It will target 43,000 families from 33 dairy producer organisations covering three milk sheds of southwestern, Central and Eastern Uganda.
The phase II of the project was launched on friday24, January 2014 at Kampala Serena Hotel by the State Minister for Agriculture, Animal industries and Fisheries, Hon Bright Rwamirama. He thanked the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation for supporting Heifer International with a 25.5 million dollar grant to improve lives of smallholder farmers in the East African region. The minister reiterated that the work of the project is in line with the National development plan strategy of increasing household incomes and modernizing agriculture. He further mentioned that the per capita milk consumption of Ugandans is at 50 litres which is far below the FAO recommended standard of 200 litres and therefore this creates a potentially big market locally which the project can take advantage of.
“Out of USD 25.5 Million , Uganda is going to take 10.9m, almost half of the grant and therefore this calls for more commitment and hard work among key players in the sector “,said the acting country director for heifer international, Mr. William Matovu. He also pointed out that the EADD project is the first dairy value chain project t implemented at scale in Uganda and that the hub approach is nearing adoption into national systems.
Tackling obstacles, catalysing linkages, and developing synergies: The Global Landscapes Forum
Friday, December 6, 2013
According to a 2011 IFAD report, approximately five million smallholder farmers provide over 80% of the food consumed in large parts of the developing world.
The importance of including smallholder farmers in the global climate change debate was a frequent topic of discussion at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF), a parallel session to the 19th Conference of Parties (COP19), where 1,230 students, scientists, and participants from 122 countries combined their voices and stressed the multiple benefits of the landscape approach.
A core objective of the event was to develop the potential of the landscape approach to inform future UNFCCC agreements and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To this end, the GLF was organized along four main themes:
Chief among the key messages developed by the GLF was the need to consider smallholder famer interests, the importance of a landscape approach for climate change adaptation and mitigation benefits, the low-cost and financial gains of implementing sustainable forestry and agricultural practices, and the importance of addressing the engagement of women, youth, and other underrepresented groups (i.e. indigenous communities) when considering a landscape approach.
The Role of Smallholder Farmers
Strengthening the role of smallholder farmers in food production and natural resource stewardship is recognized as a quick way to lift over one billion people out of poverty and sustainably nourish a growing world population. To accomplish this, one option is for food companies to source their food directly from smallholder farms, and not from large-scale, mechanized plants, thereby allowing farmers to develop stronger links with agriculture supply chains and receive more of the benefits.
Another option for strengthening the role of smallholders is to encourage the widespread application of climate-smart agriculture (CSA). For this to be successful, two types of incentives are needed: direct and indirect. Direct incentives include free or subsidized seeds and seedlings, agriculture inputs, or cash grants. Indirect incentives branch out further and change the environment in which farmers operate such as creating market linkages, product promotions, lowering transaction costs, and extending payback periods on loans. The GLF made it clear that in order to provide these incentives, mechanisms, frameworks, and policy structures must be in place to support these changes.
Representatives at the GLF illustrated the growing support of public and private agencies to work towards these changes and international organizations, such as ICRAF, provide strong research evidence of the multiple benefits generated by practicing CSA technologies on smallholder farms.
ICRAF and the Landscape Approach
ICRAF has been a major player in promoting the landscape approach and CSA. Indeed, the Centre has led some important efforts in adopting a landscape approach for their projects, and in promoting CSA as a sustainable option for smallholder farmers to adapt to and mitigate climate change impacts.
Notably, the recent success with the Reducing Emissions from All Land Uses (REALU) project which is implemented by the ASB Partnership for Tropical Forest Margins based at ICRAF headquarters, showcases the benefits of adopting a landscape approach.
REALU combines REDD+ approaches with climate smart agriculture and the landscape approach, since many drivers of deforestation lie outside forest boundaries, to develop a set of approaches, methodologies, and national capacities to implement effective landscape-based strategies for REDD+. Among the many findings of the project, it is evident that landscape approaches would benefit from greater effectiveness and efficiency when synergy is obtained between greenhouse gas emissions reductions priorities and other environmental, social, and economic objectives including climate change adaptation.
ICRAF has also addressed CSA in depth, and developed policy recommendations on making climate-smart agriculture work for the poor, addressing gender in climate-smart agriculture, and climate finance for agriculture and livelihoods.
GLF: Final Thoughts
Sustainable rural landscapes are not just an environmentally sound and low cost option for mitigating and adapting to climate change, but they hold the potential to lift out of poverty over one billion people comprised of smallholder farmers and their families—while sustainably nourishing a growing world population. The GLF recognized that land use may become an important element of the post-2020 climate agreement and UNFCCC negotiators are seeking ways to link elements on Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF), REDD+, agriculture and other land uses. Thirteen actionable policy recommendations and incentives were articulated at the GLF for a multilateral climate agreement, the SDGs process and other actors. For more details, read the full list of recommendations from each session or the shorter executive summary of the recommendations.
With a resonating blow to the agricultural community, the UNFCCC opted to remove agriculture from its climate change negotiations at the COP19, due to a procedural error. This is particularly unfortunate given the important policy recommendations generated at the GLF, which had the potential to influence change in the agriculture sector under the climate change debate.
Despite this blow, efforts to improve the understanding of the international community on agriculture and forestry linkages remain strong. However, benefits from these efforts will remain limited in scope unless there is a behavioral change among farmers, foresters, and decision-makers to adopt new and improved technologies, thereby safeguarding natural resources and systems for future generations.
ICRAF Presentations from the GLF
Delia Catacutan, Senior Social Scientist, Country Representative and Coordinator of ICRAF Vietnam.
Blog on her discussion: For smallholders, an abundance of opportunities in climate-smart farming.
Lalisa Duguma, Postdoctoral Fellow with the ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins at ICRAF.
Henry Neufeldt, Head of the Climate Change unit, ICRAF
Tony Simons, Director General, ICRAF
Blog on his discussion: Resilient landscapes need the involvement of local people.
Rural Eastern Africa communities to reap huge benefits from new DGIS Programme
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Food and water insecurity are persistent challenges in the rural areas of the Sahel and Horn of Africa. A recent World Bank report reveals that Africa harbours the most impoverished soils in the world yet the continent still lags behind in the utilization of inorganic fertilizers. Similarly, the World Resources Institute (WRI) suggests that improving land and water management on just 25% of sub-Saharan Africa’s 300 million hectares of prime cropland would result in an additional 22 million tons of food in our granaries.
It is against this backdrop that development partners and various stakeholders from Ethiopia and Kenya converged at the ICRAF headquarters in Nairobi for the pre-project launch planning meeting of the new DGIS grant to ICRAF dubbed Enhancing Food and Water Security for Rural Economic Development on 10-11 October 2013.
The two-day meeting was officially opened by ICRAF’s Director General, Tony Simons who described the project as timely and stated that its inception would be vital in drawing a roadmap towards achieving the quest to tame water and food shortage. He further indicated that the project would stimulate economic growth of the rural population in targeted zones in Ethiopia and Kenya.
The occasion was also graced by Ms Marielle Geraedts, Deputy Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands to Kenya. She challenged the participants to exploit the platform presented by the meeting to not only share knowledge, but also chart the way forward for the project.
Ms Geraedts affirmed her government’s commitment to supporting the DGIS programme in order to build the capacity of rural communities and help them move away from dependence on emergency aid. She was optimistic that this ambitious programme would ensure that farmers remain at the centre of innovation and change.
Addressing the participants, Dr Jeremias Mowo, the Regional Coordinator for East and Southern Africa noted that Kenya and Ethiopia harbour 70% of the drylands which face major challenges related to food security and energy sources. He cited agroforestry as one of the major land management approaches that could effectively address the problems faced in the drylands, alongside having integrated approaches in collaboration with the local governments.
While presenting the key components in the project, Mr Maimbo Malesu noted that the meeting was designed to create a common ground with the partners and stakeholders involved so as to establish a clear guideline on how the project will be implemented.
He indicated that the initiative rides on three major goals: promoting water and food security, commercialization of the rural economies and creating an environment that enables increased water and food security through a bottom-up approach, with farmers taking the lead. Coordination of the programme will be led by a selected national lead organization in each country but partners will work with farmer organizations.
Dr Dennis Garrity thereafter explained the selection criteria and roles of project partners and service providers. He pointed out that lead national organizations were selected based on their track records, experience and technical capacity. He further sought to clarify that the project is a collaborative program and ICRAF is simply the recipient organization and would ensure that all partners and stakeholders are fully involved at the local, national and international levels.
Apart from presentations, participating institutions and stakeholders from the two countries also held separate discussion sessions where they brainstormed on the project implementation strategy and appropriate approaches to be used, especially during the inception phase. The session mostly focused on listing the interventions undertaken and the approaches used by the represented institutions in the two countries which would help map possible collaborations and leveraging on quick wins.
The meeting attracted a host of organizations including Oxfam USA (Ethiopia), World Vision (Australia, Ethiopia and Kenya), Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya – Farm Input Promotions – Africa (FIPS-Africa), Caritas-Kenya, Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), Kenya Network for Dissemination of Agricultural Technologies (KENDAT) Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) and Relief Society of Tigray (REST).
The programme will also be implemented in the Sahelian countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger where a similar meeting was held in August 2013.
Agroforests are reducing carbon losses in Jambi, Indonesia
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Land-cover change is accelerating and carbon loss is decelerating in Jambi province on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, say Grace Villamor, Robert Ponstius and Meine van Noordwijk in Regional Environmental Change. This deceleration in carbon loss is due to a transition from forests to agroforests. Their research underpins the increasingly important role of agroforests in reducing carbon emissions. REDD policies and schemes would achieve better results if they took this into consideration.
Indonesia is the world’s third largest greenhouse gas emitter, with 80% of its emissions originating from deforestation and peat-swamp degradation. The country has the second-highest rate of deforestation among tropical countries: 12 million hectares of forest were lost in Sumatra from 1985 to 2007.
The Government of Indonesia has declared its commitment to reducing its baseline emissions unilaterally by 26% by 2020 and by another 15% with international support. Indonesia is developing a REDD+ policy but defining ‘forest’ has proved tricky. Currently, ‘forest’ includes tree plantations, which means carbon finance could end up subsidizing the transition from forests and woodlands to industrial timber and oil palm plantations, with negative environmental and social impacts.
Jambi province ranks fifth among the 33 provinces of Indonesia in terms of carbon-dioxide emissions during 1990–2005. Jambi is responsible for 5% of Indonesia’s annual emissions, 4% being emissions caused by converting agroforests to cropland while 15% were due to transition from natural forests to cropland.
An analysis of land-use change and associated carbon-stock change can provide invaluable decision-support for ongoing REDD+ policy discussions. The study compared rates of land-cover change in two periods—1993–2005 and 1973–1993—and came to the conclusion that REDD+ policy should include agroforestry systems and community-based forests.
The role of forests, trees and agroforestry in climate-change mitigation is a key focus of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.
The study area covered approximately 16 000 hectares in Bungo district of Jambi province including the villages of Laman Panjan, Lubuk Beringin and Buat. Maps of the area for 1973, 1993 and 2005 were obtained from Landsat MSS, TM and ETM images and were used to categorise land into 'forest', 'agroforest', 'rubber', 'palm' and 'other'.
It was found that land cover changed at a faster rate during 1993–2005 than during 1973–1993. History explains this: there were increasing resource pressures, changing market opportunities, and intervening outside policies during 1993–2005. The largest transition during 1993–2005 is from 'agroforest' to 'rubber', which is important because the carbon density of agroforests is greater than that of rubber. 'Forest' accounted for nearly all land transitions during the earlier time interval and has more than twice the carbon density of any other category. In the latter period, 'agroforest' accounted for a larger area of land-cover change than 'forest', explaining why the annual aboveground carbon loss is decelerating. This is a strong case for why REDD policies should account for the role of agroforests in carbon budgets.
REDD policies can have a profound influence on conservation, sustainable management and enhancement of carbon stocks in developing countries. However, if they only take the ‘forest’ category into account, carbon changes due to ‘agroforest’ transitions will be omitted.
The province of Jambi is aiming to pioneer a REDD scheme and is under obligation to ensure that all the drivers, dynamics and processes of land changes are factored in, which includes deforestation beyond the 'forest' sector. If non-forest sectors are not accounted for, the REDD scheme will likely fail.
Read the paper
Lesser known coffee variety almost as profitable as oil palm in Sumatra’s peatlands
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Scientists from the World Agroforestry Centre have found that the Excelsa coffee species, grown in agroforestry systems in the peatlands of Sumatra, Indonesia, comes close to matching the profitability of oil palm and causes far less environmental impact.
Massive land conversion is occurring on the island of Sumatra as oil-palm production expands, leaving a trail of forest destruction and land degradation. This is not only threatening the livelihoods of people who live off the peatlands but also dramatically increasing carbon-dioxide emissions.
In a poster presented at the 6th International Ecosystem Services Partnership Conference, Muhammad Sofiyuddin, Agroforestry Economist with the World Agroforestry Centre, demonstrated how coffee agroforestry could be a viable alternative livelihood that also conserves Sumatra’s peatlands.
Together with colleagues, Sofiyuddin studied the livelihoods, farming systems and land management practices among farmers in the district of Tanjung Jabung Barat in Jambi province, Sumatra.
'We found that farmers who grow Excelsa coffee on peat are earning almost as much as those growing oil palm, with coconut agroforestry systems only slightly less profitable', explained Sofiyuddin. 'And 65% of the farmers we surveyed said they preferred mixed farming systems, which in this area are primarily coffee agroforests'.
In Tanjung Jabung Barat district there are two distinct categories of residents: 'old' migrants and 'recent' migrants. The old migrants came to the area during the 1940s and 1950s, mostly from Sulawesi and Kalimantan. Their highest source of income (64%) is from agroforestry. More recent migrants arrived during the 1980s and 1990s under the Indonesian Government’s transmigration program linked to the development of large-scale, oil-palm plantations. Oil palm is the highest source of income (54%) for recent migrants.
The scientists found the average daily income of old migrants who practise agroforestry (USD 3.60) is slightly higher than that of recent migrants growing oil palm (USD 3.10).
Until the 1990s, coconut was the main commodity grown in the district but with falling productivity and prices farmers began to intercrop coffee with coconut and betelnut.
Farmers grow the lesser known coffee species, Coffea dewevrei (Excelsa coffee), which is more profitable on peat than other species of coffee such as Arabica (Coffea arabica) or Robusta (Coffea canephora) and fetches higher prices. Excelsa coffee is able to produce beans just 3.5 years after planting.
To further improve the livelihoods of farmers practising coffee agroforestry, Sofiyuddin says there is a need to provide access to a wider market for Excelsa coffee and higher prices.
'Eco-certification is one option that might strengthen the bargaining position of Excelsa coffee in organic markets', he said.
Download the poster
Sofiyuddin M, Janudianto, Jasnari, Khususiyah N. 2013. Coffee-based agroforestry as an alternative to improve local livelihoods in peat landscapes of Sumatra. Bogor, Indonesia: World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Southeast Asia Regional Program.
Traditional tree species holds promise for farmers in Indonesia’s peatlands
Thursday, November 14, 2013
For farmers who rely on the peat-swamp forests of Sumatra and Central Kalimantan in Indonesia for their livelihoods, a return to growing traditional indigenous tree species may be their best option amid widespread deforestation, land conversion, degradation and increasing carbon dioxide emissions.
A poster presented at the 6th International Ecosystem Services Partnership Conference in Bali, Indonesia, in August 2013 looks at the viability of traditional agroforestry systems in a changing landscape. It summarizes an assessment that was made of agroforestry systems in Tanjung Jabung Barat district in Jambi province of Sumatra and Kapuas district of Central Kalimantan province.
Janudianto, Agroforestry Management Officer with the World Agroforestry Centre Indonesia, explains how 'jelutung' and 'gemor' trees—once highly valued for their latex, wood and bark—have virtually disappeared from the landscape. Farmers of the peat swamps of Sumatra and Central Kalimantan now rely mostly on rubber for their income.
'There is great potential for jelutung in areas of Sumatra to improve household incomes', outlined Janudianto. 'It is a native peat-swamp forest species which is gaining increasing popularity and can be integrated with profitable crops such as oil palm and betelnut'.
Jelutung (Dyera polyphylla) grows naturally in Sumatra, Malaysia, Borneo and southern Thailand. The fine hardwood timber is especially popular for pencils, picture frames and carvings as well being used for model and pattern making. Prior to the introduction of synthetic alternatives, the latex from jelutung was used in chewing gum.
'The difficulty is that that there is not a well-established market for jelutung latex', said Janudianto.
He and fellow scientists suggest that further promotion of jelutung requires building the capacity of farmers in seed certification and cultivation and providing marketing assistance through support from government and non-government agencies.
There is also a need for district and provincial forest agencies, trade and industrial organizations to cooperate on implementing regulations for jelutung harvesting within protected areas where farmers live.
'Development efforts need to focus on improving jelutung agroforestry systems to not only improve local livelihoods but also reduce environmental pressure on remaining peat swamps', he said.
In the other district studied—Kapuas in Central Kalimantan—the scientists believe the key to increasing farmers’ incomes is through rejuvenating and improving the maintenance of old rubber gardens. They observed that farmers tended to grow rubber on mineral soils within villages or along river banks, with only some rubber trees planted in shallow- to medium-depth peat soils.
While rubber planted in peat soil requires little or no fertilizer, its productivity is lower than when grown in mineral soils. Rubber is only considered suitable for very thin peat soils.
'Efforts need to focus on maximizing the use of remaining mineral soils within villages and selecting new sites that are suitable for rubber gardens', said Janudianto. 'It is also important to determine peat soil depth and its suitability for rubber prior to planting'.
Download the poster
Janudianto, Sofiyuddin M, Perdana A, Jasnari. 2013. Jelutong and rubber based-agroforest systems to improve local livelihood and reduce emission in the peatlands of Sumatra and Central Kalimantan. Bogor, Indonesia: World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Southeast Asia Regional Program.
Boosting smallholding teak in Indonesia
Monday, November 11, 2013
Although smallholder teak systems in Indonesia provide 40% of household income, a number of constraints limit their productivity. An article published in Forests, Trees and Livelihoods by, including others, the World Agroforestry Centre’s James Roshetko, Aulia Perdana and Gerhard Sebastian, highlights what smallholders, the government and support agencies can do to overcome constraints while boosting productivity and incomes.
Teak (Tectona grandis) is arguably the best-known, most valuable and widely produced tropical hardwood species. It occurs naturally in India, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand, and was introduced to Indonesia in the second century CE. The demand for teak timber has been high for centuries and plantations now exist in at least 43 countries, covering 4.3 million hectares globally. Eighty-three percent of these plantations are in Asia, with India, Indonesia and Myanmar having the largest teak-covered areas.
Indonesia is the second largest producer of teak, behind India. In Java, the centre of the Indonesian teak industry, the industrial demand for teak timber is 1.5 to 2.2 million m3 per year. Perum Perhutani, the state-owned forest enterprise produced 477,000 m3 of teak in 2008, most of which was sold to the teak industry. The shortfall in supply is sourced from smallholding and community producers on Java, other teak-growing regions, imports and illegal harvests from Perhutani plantations.
The increasing difference between the demand and supply of teak creates opportunities for smallholding production. Smallholders' teak plantations became common on Java in the 1960s and, over time, smallholding teak production has become an important source of raw material for the Javanese furniture industry and of income for rural families. In Java, approximately 1.5 million smallholders manage 444,000 hectares of agroforestry systems where teak is the dominant tree crop. In other parts of Indonesia, 800,000 hectares of smallholding agroforestry has teak as a component of multi-species, tree-based systems. Besides food products for home consumption, smallholders' teak systems generate 40% of overall household income from agriculture and timber products. These systems are not just an important source of raw material for the furniture industry in central Java but make significant contributions to livelihoods, industrial timber production and environmental rehabilitation.
While the current role and potential for smallholders' teak systems is good, there are some significant impediments, including poor silvicultural management, limited market links, and policy disincentives. To overcome these, it is important to identify and promote the silvicultural practices and socioeconomic and policy conditions that support smallholders. Scientists from the World Agroforestry Centre, the Center for International Forestry Research and partner institutions, studied smallholders' teak systems in Gunungkidul in central Java with this precise objective. Working to improve smallholders' systems and markets, with a focus on the productivity and sustainability of forestry and agroforestry, is a key focus of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.
Gunungkidul was selected as the research site because it has a long history of successful teak production by smallholders. Virtually every family grows teak. Two hundred and seventy-five teak-farming families from seven villages, managing 1,074 land parcels on a total of 276.50 hectares were studied to identify the socioeconomic conditions and farming characteristics of their systems. Twenty-one percent of the respondents were women. An inventory of 227 teak farms covering 47.10 hectares documented species' composition, tree density and management practices. A rapid market appraisal identified smallholders’ teak-marketing practices and related opportunities. Farmers' demonstration trials showed the advantages of silvicultural management under smallholding conditions. Interviews helped to triangulate information, fill information gaps and gain a comprehensive understanding of key issues.
A number of recommendations emerged from this research:
The conclusions and recommendations from this study are relevant to smallholders' teak and tree-farming systems across Indonesia and the tropics and can be adapted to local conditions.
Read the article
Roshetko JM, Rohadi D, Perdana A, Sabastian G, Nuryartono N, Pramono AA, Widyani N, Manalu P, Fauzi MA, Sumardamto P, Kusumowardhani N. 2013. Teak agroforestry systems for livelihood enhancement, industrial timber production, and environmental rehabilitation. Forests, Trees, and Livelihoods 22 (4).