Opportunities and Challenges of Scaling up Agroforestry Practices in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review

DOI: 10.18805/ag.R-154    | Article Id: R-154 | Page : 216-226
Citation :- Opportunities and Challenges of Scaling up Agroforestry Practices in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review.Agricultural Reviews.2020.(41):216-226
Tamirat Wato, Mekides Amare tamiratwato1@gmail.com
Address : Department of Plant Science, College of Agriculture and Natural Resource, Bonga University P.O. Box 334, Bonga, Ethiopia.
Submitted Date : 9-06-2020
Accepted Date : 22-08-2020


Agroforestry is land-use systems and technologies where woody perennials are deliberately used on equivalent land management units as crops and/or animals. Its systems combine tree growing with the assembly of different crops or animals. Hence, developing positive ecological and economic interactions between components, agroforestry systems aim to produce a variety of environmental, economic and social advantages to farming communities. It plays a major role in soil conservation and global climate change mitigation particularly due to its tree component. Trees control soil degradation through their roots and accumulate greenhouse emission (GHG) in their biomass. What is more, it conjointly helps in global climate change adaptation. It’s a long-time undeniable fact that despite our gift effort at global climate change mitigation (GHG reduction), there is an additional pressing ought to address the impact of global climate change (adaptation). Peoples ought to be acutely aware regarding the scope and advantages of agroforestry and that they ought to participate in the implementation and development of agroforestry within the country. Thus, this paper reviews different analysis findings on the opportunities and challenges for scaling up agroforestry practices. Therefore, the agroforestry system is economically and ecologically sound practices with an improvement of overall farm productivity, soil enrichment through litterfall, maintaining environmental services like international global climate change mitigation (carbon sequestration), phytoremediation, watershed protection and biodiversity conservation.


Agroforestry Climate change Phytoremediation Soil conservation


  1. Abay, B. (2019). Opportunities and Challenges of adopting Home         garden Agroforestry Practices in Ethiopia: A Review. Agri         Res and Tech: Open Access J. 20(3): 556128. DOI: 10.19080/ARTOAJ.2019.20.556128.
  2. Acharya, A.K. and Kafle, N. (2009). Land degradation issues in Nepal and its management through agroforestry. The Journal of Agriculture and Environment. 140: 230-240.
  3. Ajayi, O.C., Akinnifesi, F.K Sileshi. G., Chakeredza, S., Mgomba, S, Nikkei and Chineke, T. (2008). Local solutions to global problems: the potential of agroforestry for climate change adaptation and mitigation in southern Africa, ICRAF, Nairobi, Kenya.
  4. Angelsen, A., Kaimowitz, D. (2004). Is Agroforestry Likely to Reduce Deforestation? In: Agroforestry and Biodiversity Conservation in Tropical Landscape. [Schroth, G (ed.)], Island Press. ISBN: 1559633573.
  5. Asfaw, Z. and Woldu, Z. (1997). Crop associations of home-gardens in Welayta and Gurage in southern Ethiopia. Sinet, An Ethiopian Journal of Science. 20(1): 1-12.
  6. ASI. (2017). Agricultural Situation in India. P. Agri. 21-07.
  7. Badege, Bishaw and Neufeldt, Henry and Mowo, Jeremias and Abdelkadir, Abdu and Muriuki, Jonathan and Dalle, Gemedo and Assefa, Tewodros and Guillozet, Kathleen and Habtemariam, Kassa and Dawson, Ian and Luedeling, Eike and Mbow, Cheikh. (2013). Farmers’ Strategies for Adapting to and Mitigating Climate Variability and Change through Agroforestry in Ethiopia and Kenya.
  8. Bijarpas, M.M., Rostami, T., Shahraji, S., Limaei, M. (2015). Socioeconomic evaluation of agroforestry systems (Case study: Northern Iran). Journal of Forest Science. 61(11): 478-484. Doi: 10.17221/30/2015-JFS.
  9. Bjorn, S. (1991). Agroforestry Today.  ICRAF, Nairobi. Kenya, 3(3): 120-130.
  10. Byington, E.K. (1990). Agroforestry in the temperate zone. In: Agroforestry Classification and Management, [MacDicken, K.G. and Vergara, N.T. (eds.)], John Wiley and Sons, New York, USA. pp. 228-289.
  11. Chaturvedi, A., Kumar, P.G. and Hate, S. (2009). Community-based forest management and its impact on vegetation: a case study. I Forest 2: 93-98 [online: 2009-06-10] URL: http://www.sisef.it/iforest/show.php? id=490.
  12. Conklin, H.C. (1957). Hununoo agriculture. FAO Forestry Development Paper No. 12. FAO, Rome, Italy.
  13. Cubbage, F., Glenn, V., Mueller, J.P., Robinson, D., Myers, R., Luginbuhl, J.M. and Myers, R. (2012). Early tree growth, crop yields and estimated returns for an agroforestry trial in Goldsboro, NC. Agroforestry Systems: DOI: 10.1007/s10457-012-9481-0.
  14. Daniels, R.B. and Gilliam, J.W. (1996). Sediment and chemical load reduction by grass and riparian filters. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 60: 246-251.
  15. Dawson, L. and Carsan, Sammy and Franzel, Steven and Kindt, Roeland and Breugel, Paulo and Graudal, Lars and Lillesø, Jens-Peter Barnekow and Orwa, Caleb and Jamnadass, Ramni. (2014). Agroforestry, livestock, fodder production and climate change adaptation and mitigation in East Africa: issues and options. ICRAF Working Paper No.178. 10.5716/WP14050.
  16. DeSouza, H.N., DeGoede, R.G.M., Brussaard, L., Cardoso, I.M., Duarte, E.M.G., Fernandes, R.B.A., Gomes, L.C., Pulleman, M.M. (2012). Protective shade, tree diversity and soil properties in coffee agroforestry systems in the Atlantic Rainforest biome. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 146: 179-196.
  17. Dhyani, S.K., Sharda, V.N. and Sharma, A.R. (2003). Agroforestry for water resources conservation: issues, challenges and strategies, in Agroforestry: Potentials and Opportunities (eds) Pathak PS and Newaj, Ram Jodhpur, India: Agribios.
  18. Divine, Odame Appiah, Patrick Nyarko. (2015). Smallholder Farmers and Agroforestry Land Use Optimization in Forest Fringed Communities in Ghana. International Journal of Scientific Research in Environmental Sciences. 3(12): 0420-0430. DOI: 10.12983/ijsres-2015-p0420-0430.
  19. Dixon, R.K., James, A. Perry, Elizabeth, L. Vanderklein, Francois, H. (2004). The vulnerability of forest resources to global climate change: a case study of Cameroon and Ghana.
  20. Dosskey, M. (2002). Setting Priorities for Research on Pollution Reduction Functions of Agricultural Buffers. Environmental Management. 30: 641-50. DOI:10.1007/s00267-002-2755-y.
  21. Dove, M.R. (1992). Foresters’ beliefs about farmers: a priority for social science research in social forestry. Agroforestry Systems. 17: 13-41.
  22. Dover, M.J. and Talbot, L.M. (1987). To Feed the Earth: Agroecology for Sustainable Development. World Resources Institute.
  23. Dumont, S., E., Gnahoua, G.M., Ohouo, L. et al., (2014). Farmers in Côte d’Ivoire value integrating tree diversity in cocoa for the provision of ecosystem services. Agroforest Syst. 88: 1047–1066. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-014-9679-4.
  24. Eyasu, E. (2002). Farmers’ Perceptions of Soil Fertility Change and Management, SOS SAHEL and Institute for Sustainable Development, Doctoral Thesis, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and 252 p.
  25. Fernandes, E.C.M. and Nair, P.K.R. (1986). An evaluation of the structure and function of tropical home gardens. Agricultural Systems. 21: 279-310.
  26. Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). (2016). State of the World’s Forests. Forests and Agriculture: Land-use Challenges and Opportunities. Rome.
  27. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO). (2016). Climate change, agriculture and food security. Rome.
  28. Forde, D.C. (1937). Land and labor in a Cross-River village. Geographical Journal. XC(1).
  29. Frank Place, Michelle Adato, Paul Hebinck and Mary Omosa (2003). The Impact of Agroforestry-Based soil fertility Replenishment Practices on the poor in Western Kenya.
  30. Frison, E.A., Cherfas, J. and Hodgkin, T. (2011).  Agricultural biodiversity is essential for a sustainable improvement in food and nutrition security. Sustainability. 3: 238-253.
  31. Galhena, H.D., Freed, R., Maredia, K.M., Johnson-Welch, C., Alemu, B., et al. (2013). Home gardens: a promising approach to enhance household food security and wellbeing. Agriculture and Food Security. 2(1): 8.
  32. Ganesamoorthi, S., N.R. Gangadharappa and Shivamurthy, M. (2003). Agroforestry - a viable alternative for social, economic and ecological sustainability.
  33. Garrity, D. (2004). Agroforestry and the achievement of Millennium Development Goals. Agroforest. Sys. 61: 5-17.
  34. Hamidian, Ali and Zehtabyan, Gholamreza and Khosravi, Hassan. (2011). Socio-Economic Benefits of Agroforestry for. 1st National Conference of New Approaches in Natural Resources Sustainable Management.
  35. Hazell, Peter and Poulton, Colin and Wiggins, Steve and Dorward andrew. (2007). The Future of Small Farms for Poverty Reduction and Growth. International Food Policy Research Institute.
  36. Hoekstra, D. (1990). Economics of agroforestry. In: Agroforestry Classification and Management, [MacDicken, K. and Vergara, N. (eds.)]. John Wiley and Sons, New York, USA. pp. 310-331. 
  37. Holland, M.B., Free de Koning, M. Morales, L. Naughton-Treves, Brian, E., Robinson and L. Suárez. (2014). Complex Tenure and Deforestation: Implications for Conservation Incentives in the Ecuadorian Amazon. World Development. 55(C): 21-36.
  38. Hoskins, M.W. (1987). Agroforestry and social milieu. In: Agroforestry: A Decade of Development, [Steppler, H.A. and Nair, P.K.R. (eds.)], ICRAF, Nairobi, Kenya. pp. 191-203.
  39. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (2000). Summary for Policymakers: The Science of Climate Change. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC Working Group I, 26 Feb. 
  40. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (2001). Climate Change: The Scientific Basis Contribution of Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, New York.
  41. Jat, B.L. and Poonia, T.C. (2006). Research on Agroforestry-A review. Agric. Rev. 27(2): 103-112.
  42. Jean Baptiste, F. (2013). Agroforestry Systems and Food Security in the Sahel: the case of Toukar, Senegal.
  43. Jean-Pascal Van, Y. (2017). Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities for International Shipping.
  44. Jones, M. (2015). 8 ways Africa can raise farm productivity and boost growth. The World Economic Forum.
  45. Kandji, S.T., Verchot, L. and Mackensen, J. (2006). Climate Change Climate and Variability in Southern Africa: Impacts and Adaptation in the Agricultural Sector, ICRAF, Nairobi, Kenya.
  46. Kang, B.T. (1999). Sustainable agroforestry systems for the tropics: concepts and examples. International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
  47. Kang, B.T., Reynolds, L. and Atta-Krah, A.N. (1990). Alley farming.Advances in Agronomy. 43: 315-359.
  48. Khalid, Md. M. and Islam, S.M. (2017). Reclamation of Degraded Land through Agroforestry Introduction in Bangladesh. Journal of Natural Sciences Research. 7(5): 56-62.
  49. King, K.F.S. (1987). The history of agroforestry. In: Agroforestry: A Decade of Development, [Steppler, H.A. and Nair, P.K.R. (eds.)], ICRAF, Nairobi, Kenya. pp. 1-11.
  50. Kiwia, A., Imo, M., Jama, B. and Okalebo, R. (2009). Coppicing improved fallows are profitable for maize production in Striga infested soils of Western Kenya. Agroforestry Systems. 76: 455-465.
  51. Kiyani, P., J. Andoh, Y. Lee and Lee, D.K. (2017). Benefits and challenges of agroforestry adoption: a case of Musebeya sector, Nyamagabe District in the southern province of Rwanda, Forest Science and Technology. 13(4): 174-180, DOI:10.1080/21580103.2017.1392367.
  52. Kumar, B.M, Nair, P.K.R. (2004). The enigma of tropical home gardens. Agroforestry Systems. 61(1-3): 135-152.
  53. Lassoie, J.P. and Buck, L.E. (1991). Agroforestry in North America: New challenges and opportunities for integrated resource management. In: Proceedings of the Second Conference on Agroforestry in North America, [Garrett HE (ed.)] 18 (21), Columbia, MO, USA. pp 1-19.
  54. Leakey, R.R.B. (1999). Potential for novel food products from agroforestry trees. Food Chemistry. 64: 1-14.
  55. Louis, V. and Hergoualc’h, K. (2011). Stocks and fluxes of carbon associated with land-use change in Southeast Asian tropical peatlands: A review. Global Biogeochemist Cycle. DOI. 25. 10.1029/2009GB003718.
  56. Lundgren, B.O. and Raintree, J.B. (1982). Sustained agroforestry. In: Agricultural Research for Development: Potentials and Challenges in Asia. [Nestel, B. (ed.)]. ISNAR. Hague. The Netherlands. 37-49.
  57. Maikhuri, Rakesh and Semwal, R. and Rao, Kottapalli, and Saxena, K. (1997). Agroforestry for the rehabilitation of degraded community lands: A case study in Garhwal Himalaya. International Tree Crops Journal. DOI: 9. 10.1080/01435698.1997.9752964.
  58. Mbow, Ch., Meine, V.N., Eike, L., Henry, N., Peter, A.M. and Godwin, K. (2013). Agroforestry solutions to address food security and climate change challenges in Africa. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. 6: 61-67.
  59. Mehari, T. (2012). Traditional Agroforestry practices, opportunities, threats and research needs in the highlands of Oromia, Central Ethiopia. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. 2(5): 2251-0044.
  60. Nair, P.K.R. (ed.). (1989). Agroforestry systems in the tropics. Kluwer Academic Publishers, in Cooperation with ICRAF. 664 pages. Journal of Tropical Ecology. 7(1): 84-84. DOI:10.1017/S0266467400005125.
  61. Nair, P.K.R. (1993). An Introduction to Agroforestry, Kluwer Academic Publisher with Cooperation ICRAF, Dordrecht, London.
  62. Nath, A.J. and Das, A.K. (2012). Carbon pool and sequestration potential of village bamboos in agroforestry systems in Northeast India. Tropical Ecology. 53(3): 287-93.
  63. Ndlovu, L.R. and Mugabe, P.H. (2002). Nutrient Cycling in Integrated Plant Animal Systems: Implications for Animal Management Strategies in Smallholder Farming Systems. In: Natural Resources Management in African Agriculture: Understanding and improving current practices, [Christopher B. Barrett, F. Place, and Abdillahi A. Aboud. Editors (ed.)] Wallingford, Oxon, UK: CABI Pub. (pp. 251-260).
  64. Ndukwe, O.O., Aba, S.C., Amu, C.J. and Baiyeri, K.P. (2017). The Role of Trees and Plantation Agriculture in Mitigating Global Climate Change. Food Agric. Nutr. Dev. 17(4): 12691-12707. DOI: 10.18697/ajfand.80.15500.
  65. Nebiyou, M. and Muluneh, M. (2016). The Role of Agroforestry for Rehabilitation of Degraded Soil. A Review Paper. Journal of Biology, Agriculture and Healthcare. 6(5): 128-135.
  66. Nkonya, Ephraim and Pender, John and Jagger, Pamela and Serunkuuma, Dick and Kaizzi, Kayuki and Ssali, Henry. (2004). Strategies for Sustainable Land Management and Poverty Reduction in Uganda. Research Report of the International Food Policy Research Institute.
  67. Noble, I.R. and Dirzo, R. (1997). Forest as a human-dominated ecosystem. Science. 277: 522-525.
  68. Nyadzi, G.I., Otsyina, R.M., Banzi, F.M., Bakengesa S.S., Gama, B.M., Mbwambo L. and Asenga, D. (2003). Rotational woodlot technology in northwestern Tanzania: Tree species and crop performance. Agroforest. Sys. 59: 253-263.
  69. Ojo, G.J.A. (1966). Yoruba Culture. The University of Ife and London Press, London, UK.
  70. Osemebo, G.J. (1987). Smallholder farmers and forestry development: A study of rural land-use in Bendel, Nigeria. Agricultural Systems. 24: 31-51.
  71. Public Disclosure Authorized (PDA). (2018). Mozambique Country Forest Note.
  72. Raintree, J.B. and Warner, K. (1986). Agroforestry pathways for the intensification of shifting cultivation. Agroforestry Systems. 4: 39-54.
  73. Raj, D.R. (2016). Role of Agroforestry in Climate Change Mitigation. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4528.2321.
  74. Rhoades, C.C.  (1996). Single-tree influences on soil properties in agroforestry: lessons from natural forest and savanna ecosystems. Agricultural Systems. 35: 71-94.
  75. Rioux, J. (2011). Opportunities and Challenges of Promoting Agro forestry for Climate Change Mitigation: A Case study of the Mitigation of Climate Change in Agriculture (MICCA) Pilot Project in Tanzania. Nature and Faune. 26(2): 63-68.
  76. Roa, M.R., Niang, A., Kwesig, F., Duguma, B., Franzel, S., Jama, B. and Buresh, R.J. (1998). Soil fertility replenishment in Sub-Saharan Africa: new techniques and the spread of their use on farms. Agroforestry Today. 10(2): 3-8.
  77. Rocheleau, D., Weber, F. and Field-Juma, A. (1988). Agroforestry in Dryland Africa. ICRAF, Nairobi, Kenya.
  78. Rockwood, D.L., Cardellino, R., Alker, G., Lin, C., Brown, N., Spriggs, T., Tsangaris, S., Isebrands, J., Hall, R., Lange, R. and Nwokike, B. (2004). Fast-growing trees for heavy metal and chlorinated solvent phytoremediation. In: In Situ and On-Site Bioremediation. Proceedings of the Seventh International. [Magar V.S. and Kelley M.E. (eds)], In Situ and On-Site Bioremediation Symposium, Orlando, FL, Paper F-12, Battelle Press, Columbus, OH.
  79. Roshetko, J.M., Lasco, R.D. and Angeles, M.S.D. (2007). Smallholder agroforestry systems for carbon storage. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change. 12: 219-242.
  80. Sanchez, P.A. (1995). Science in Agroforestry. Agroforestry Systems.         30(1 and 2): 5-55.
  81. Sanz, M.J., J. de Vente, J., L. Chotte, M. Bernoux, G. Kust, I. Ruiz, M. Almagro, J.A. Alloza, R. Vallejo, V. Castillo, A. Hebel and M. Akhtar-Schuster. (2017). Sustainable Land Management contribution to successful land-based climate change adaptation and mitigation. A Report of the Science-Policy Interface. United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Bonn, Germany.
  82. Schoeneberger, M., Bentrup, G., Gooijer de, H., Soolanayakanahally, R., Sauer, T., Brandle, J., Zhou, X. and Current, D. (2012). Branching out: Agroforestry as a climate change mitigation and adaptation tool for agriculture. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 67(5):128A-136A.
  83. Silvana, M., Hamid, Bilali, E.L., Mauro, G., Roberto, C., (2016). Towards Sustainable Food Systems: A Holistic, Interdisciplinary and Systemic Approach. International Journal AgroFor. 1(1). DOI: 10.7251/AGRENG1601103M.
  84. Skole, D.L., Samek J.H., Chomentowski, W., Smalligan, M. (2013). Forests, carbon and the global environment: new directions in research. In Land Use and the Carbon Cycle Advances in Integrated Science, Management and Policy. Edited by Brown DG, Robinson DT, French NHF, Reed BC. USA: Cambridge University Press: 505-522.
  85. Srivastavaa, A.K., Gaisera, T., Cornet, D., Ewert, F. (2012). Estimation of effective fallow availability for the prediction of yam productivity at the regional scale using model-based multiple scenario analysis. Field Crops Research. 131: 32-3.
  86. Steffan-Dewenter, I., M. Kessler, J. Barkmann, Merij, M.B., D. Buchor, S. Erasmi, H. Faust, et al., (2007). Tradeoffs between income, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning during tropical rainforest conversion and agroforestry intensification. 
  87. SUAF (Scaling Up Agroforestry). (2018). Potential, Challenges and Barriers. A review of environmental, social and economic aspects at the farmer, community and landscape levels. ISBN: 978-91-985041-0-1.
  88. Susila, A.D., Purwoko, B.S., Roshetko J.M., Palada, M.C., Kartika, J.G., Dahlia, L et al., eds. (2012). Vegetable-agroforestry systems in Indonesia. Bangkok: World Association of Soil and Water Conservation; Nairobi: World Agroforestry Centre.
  89. Tamirat, W. (2019). Improvements of Crop Production through Integrated Soil Fertility Management in Ethiopia. Asian Journal of Environment and Ecology. 11(1): 1-11. https://doi.org/10.9734/ajee/2019/v11i130130.
  90. Thomas, G.W. (1990). Sustainable Agriculture: Timely Thrust for International Development. Paper presented to the Division of Agriculture, National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, Washington, D.C., USA.
  91. Tolunay, A., Korkmaz, M. and Alkan, H.  (2007). Definition and Classification of Traditional Agroforestry Practices in the West Mediterranean Region of Turkey. International Journal of Agricultural Research. 2(1): 22-32.
  92. Torquebiau, E. (2013). Agroforestry and Climate Change. FAO Webinar 5 February.
  93. Udawatta, R.P., Krstansky, J.J., Henderson, G.S. and Garrett, H.E. (2002). Agroforestry Practices, Runoff and Nutrient Loss: A Paired Watershed Comparison. J. Environ. Qual. 31:1214-1225.
  94. United States Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A). (2017). Agroforestry: Enhancing Resiliency in U.S. Agricultural Landscapes Under Changing Conditions. https://doi.org/10.2737/WO­GTR­96.
  95. Verchot, L.V., Van Noordwijk, M., Kandji, S., Tomich, T., Ong, C., Albrecht, A., Mackensen, J., Bantilan, C., Anupama, K.V. and Palm, C. (2007). Climate change: linking adaptation and mitigation through agroforestry. Mitig. Adapt. Strat. Glob. Change. 12: 901-918.
  96. Vlek, P., Rodr, G., Kuhl I. and Sommer, R. (2004). Energy use and CO2 production in tropical agriculture and means and strategies for reduction or mitigation. Environment, Development and Sustainability. 6(1): 213-233.
  97. Wassink, J.T. (1977). Agroforestry. Agriculture and Forestry teaming up for the sake of humanity and its natural environment.Koninklijk Instutuut woor de Tropen, Amsterdam, 19p.
  98. Weil, R.R. and Brady, N.C. (2016). Prospects for Global Soil Quality as Affected by Human Activities.
  99. Wilken, G.C. (1977). Integration of forest and small-scale farm systems in middle America. Agro- Ecosystems. 3: 291-302.
  100. Zemede, A. (2001). The role of home gardens in the production and conservation of medicinal plants. In: Conservation and Sustainable use of Medicinal plants in Ethiopia. Proceedings of the National Workshop on Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use of Medicinal Plants in Ethiopia. Institute of Biodiversity Conservation and Research, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Pp. 76-91.

Global Footprints