Costs, benefits, and farmer adoption of agroforestry: by Dean Current, Ernst Lutz, Sara J. Scherr, Centro Agronómico

By Dean Current, Ernst Lutz, Sara J. Scherr, Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza, International Food Policy Research Institute, World Bank

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Extra info for Costs, benefits, and farmer adoption of agroforestry: project experience in Central America and the Caribbean

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This approach was used because the alternatives were often very different systems. The net present values (NPVs) are positive, at a 20 percent real discount rate, for the majority of the cases examined. The relative profitability of different agroforestry systems compared between projects depended upon matching the system to project specific site, resource and market conditions. ) that consistently outperformed the others across projects. Local scarcities are a key factor in the economics and adoption of agroforestry.

Indeed, financial benefit has rarely been a primary objective or motivation for promoting treesa lack that may have contributed to project failures. Nor has there been much comparative evaluation of extension approaches or their impact on farmer adoption of agroforestry. To answer these needs for hard data, an analysis of the costs, benefits, and farmer adoption of agroforestry was undertaken. It was the first large-scale study of farm-level profitability of agroforestry in the tropics and involved empirical work for twenty-one projects in Central America and the Caribbean.

But agroforestry activities have generally been poorly documented. Project monitoring efforts have been weak or non-existent, or have addressed administrative concerns (Scherr and Müller 1991; Current, Rivas, and Gomez 1994). Most research and analysis of agroforestry systems have dealt with the physical and biological aspects of the systems, whereas the economic contributions of agroforestry at the farm level have not been systematically assessed (Swinkels and Scherr 1991). Indeed, producing trees for financial benefit has often been lacking as a primary objective or motivation and may have contributed to project failures (Tschinkel 1984; Murray 1991).

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