Scaling Up Agroforestry Promotion for Sustainable Development of Selected Smallholder Farmers in the Philippines
This paper highlights the results of a year-long research, which looked at the food security potentials of agroforestry systems in selected upland communities in the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya, Benguet, and Quezon in the Philippines. It characterized the different agroforestry models and systems practiced by the smallholder farmers and assessed their current state in terms of social, economic, and environmental dimensions. Data gathered through transect mapping and farm visits revealed that majority of smallholder farmers in the research sites practiced agroforestry, but with varied components. Alley cropping and contour planting are the dominant agroforestry systems in Nueva Vizcaya; vegetable-based and coffee-based multistorey system are more common in Benguet, and vegetable-based multistorey systems are widely practiced in Quezon. Meanwhile, the agrobiodiversity assessment indicated that the diversity of agroforestry systems in the three study sites are low to moderate. This implies the need to improve the present agroforestry practices into more diverse systems.
The analysis revealed that farmers in the three study sites have moderate to high levels of food security. However, smallholder farmers engaged in agroforestry and multiple cropping have higher levels of food security, compared with those engaged in monocropping and relay cropping. This shows that agroforestry systems help ensure food security by making multiple food products and farm components available throughout the year, at the same time, providing income for purchasing other food items. Agroforestry systems also contribute to ecological stability as it promotes biodiversity and carbon sequestration, which can significantly contribute toward climate change mitigation.
The ecological and socioeconomic contributions of agroforestry provide firm basis to continuously promote agroforestry in any upland development program implemented by the government and non-government sectors.