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Tropentag, September 14 - 16, 2022, Prague

"Can agroecological farming feed the world? Farmers' and academia's views."

Participatory agroforestry design – a flexible approach for locally adapated sytems: experience from Alto Huayabamba, Peru

Barbora Tůmová, Johanna Rüegg, Laura Armengot, Monika Schneider

Research Inst. of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), International Cooperation, Switzerland


Cocoa agroforestry systems are nowadays broadly promoted, but good guidelines and locally adapted designs are missing. The merely distribution of tree seedlings (by projects or institutions) without any other support leads to very low levels of adoption and farmers’ disappointment.
Here we present a method for participatory design of agroforestry systems, based on a process of sharing experiences, visiting inspiring models of agroforestry, definition of individual goals, assessment of resources and evaluation of the opportunities in each individual situation for diversifying production. In the design stage, species and crops to be combined with cocoa are evaluated in a participatory manner between farmers and technicians, based on different criteria like market possibilities, preferences for subsistence production, strata, life cycle, etc. The process can be supported by different visualisation tools, especially if presence in the field is not possible. Feedback from technicians or consultants on the design is critical. Locally available data on yields, prices and labour time needed for different crops can further refine the species and their numbers to be planted.
We have applied this approach for the design of demonstration plots in Peru, Alto Huayabamba, as well as a part of training of trainers, with high rate of engagement and adoption. Inspiration, peers’ experience sharing and visual tools were extremely important in the process. The fact that the farmers design their agroforestry farm by themselves with just a guidance of technicians, make the system more approachable, holistic and sustainable compared to traditional agroforestry projects. The method does not limit itself only to cocoa but can also be applied to other crops suitable for agroforestry. Nevertheless, as each of the cases is individual, the time spent on such design makes it challenging to be applied on a large scale at the moment.

Keywords: Adoption, codesign, methodology, planning

Contact Address: Barbora Tůmová, Research Inst. of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), International Cooperation, Ackerstrasse 113, 5070 Frick, Switzerland, e-mail: barbora.tumova@fibl.org

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