Barriers and bridges for introducing agroforestry and community-based forestry among food insecure households in eastern Africa

Published on June 21, 2015 | Author: Karl-Erik Johansson

The aim of introducing agroforestry and community-based forestry is to secure and improve livelihoods, maintain and restore ecosystem services, and contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. However, the adoption and scaling up of these systems among food insecure communities have proved to be difficult. To better understand why, I identified barriers and bridges at different adoption stages and levels of governance. These were analysed using policy narratives and the sustainable livelihood approach in the light of sustainable development, sustainability and resilience of landscapes.
The first stage was the negotiation process between the Swedish NGO Vi-Skogen and the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) about funding. Three explanatory approaches were used: organizational, power and context. Vi-Skogen and Sida were caught in policy incompatibility dilemmas that slowed down the NGO policy process, and delayed critical changes that could have improved project outcomes.
The second was Vi-Skogen’s agroforestry project in Tanzania’s Mara Region. A random sample of 21 households was drawn from each of 89 project villages. The proportion of households with surviving agroforestry trees varied from 10-90 % among villages. Field training and visits to farmers with good practices were important for households to start planting trees. Local collaboration, perceived ownership of trees and benefits of trees for crop production were additional factors important for households’ decision to continue with agroforestry practices.

The third was eleven community-based forest producer and user groups (CBFGs) in eastern and southern Africa. Development of many groups had stagnated and few had managed to develop large scale value-added production. I identified eight barriers and four bridges that influenced the scaling up process of agroforestry and community based forestry among food insecure households. All resulted from interactions among social, political, and economic structures and processes at multiple levels of governance. It is concluded that these interactions influenced the scaling up process and the development of sustainable subsistence systems among food insecure households. Collaborative knowledge production and learning is an approach through which the social capital and organisational capacity of the food insecure households can grow, enabling them to constructively address these multidimensional interactions to work in their favour. The use of this approach, i.e. a landscape approach, holds the opportunity through which subsistence systems can be transformed from causing degradation to promote sustainable development and livelihoods.

Johansson, K-E. (2015). Barriers and bridges for introducing agroforestry and community-based forestry among food insecure households in eastern Africa. Doctoral Thesis. The School for Forest Management. Faculty of Forest Sciences. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). Skinnskatteberg.

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