Enhancing value added products and environmental benefits from agroforestry systems in the Pacific

Background

Approximately 80% of people in PNG and the Pacific Islands live in rural areas and earn their livelihoods from agriculture, fishing and forestry. More than 90% of rural people are semi-subsistence smallholder farmers and women are often primarily responsible for farming activities. Rural farmers generally have limited markets for their produce, and little access to distant markets. Processing and value-adding can enhance market access, especially if products can be processed locally and transported to distant markets or central distributors.

Agroforestry tree species are widely grown in the Pacific Islands and provide multiple products such as food, timber and a vast array of non-wood forest products as well as ecosystem services including soil protection, enhanced biodiversity and climate change adaptation and mitigation. There is great potential to value-add to primary products from agroforestry crops in Pacific countries. Industries based on value-added product can also create employment and enhance business opportunities for small to medium enterprises. However, a market-driven approach is needed to identify the best opportunities for value-added products from agroforestry crops. In addition, agroforestry crops, especially tree crops may take several years to produce marketable products and smallholders need incentives in the short term to encourage investment in tree crops. Tree crops can be integrated into agroforestry systems with other short term crops such as taro, sweet potato and banana to produce a return on investment more quickly. However, there is little information on the performance of these integrated agroforestry systems in terms of the best species selection, crop production, and economic and environmental benefits to smallholders.

This project will explore opportunities for new value-added agroforestry products to improve livelihoods in PNG, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands. This research will identify the best opportunities for value-adding, and research value-adding techniques for these products. We will also investigate integrated agroforestry systems in Fiji and Vanuatu that are likely to have environmental benefits such as catchment revegetation along with economic returns to smallholders. These agroforestry systems will generate income and give smallholders greater access to remote markets, thus enhancing self-reliance, increasing environmental benefits and reducing poverty. A multidisciplinary team with collaborators from Australian Universities will work with government departments and private sector processors in all countries.

Project objectives

The objectives of this project are to:

  • Identify multipurpose agroforestry crops with market potential to be value-added in all four countries
  • Develop techniques and enhance small to medium enterprises ability to participate in value-adding
  • Enable enhanced and gender equitable smallholder participation in agroforestry crop production
  • Develop and pilot testing of catchment revegetation systems linked to markets

Project partners

Collaborating institutions:

Funding:

Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR Project FST/2014/067), 2016-2019

Contact

GFAR researchers involved in this project:

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