Indonesia launches national strategy for agroforestry research

The Government of Indonesia has officially published a strategy to research and develop agroforestry throughout the archipelago. The strategy was created with help from the World Agroforestry Centre, says Robert Finlayson


For more than a year, the Forestry Research and Development Agency of the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry has worked closely with scientists of the World Agroforestry Centre’s Indonesia program to develop the Government’s first agroforestry research strategy.

August Temu and Iman Santoso, agroforestry, strategy, Indonesia, research

August Temu (left) and Iman Santoso celebrating the launch of the national agroforestry research strategy

‘It was a very participatory and inclusive process’, noted the Centre’s director general, Dr Tony Simons. ‘It employed multi-stakeholder engagement, input from pivotal partners and collaborators and key experts and resource people throughout the country’.

The strategy spans the period 2013–2030, with a vision that sees agroforestry widely adopted by communities as an integrated land-use system that can bridge the effort to increase agricultural and forestry productivity. The strategy foresees that agroforestry will help meet the demand for food, shelter, energy and other environmental services as a ‘buffer of life, which is based on the development of science and technology in accordance with local wisdom’.

For the first time, targeted agroforestry research will be carried out by Government researchers and the findings fed into the National Forestry Plan. To achieve this, Forestry Research and Development Agency staff will be mobilized to develop partnerships with farmers, land managers, the private sector, policy makers and development agencies. Through these strong partnerships, agroforestry will be ‘mainstreamed’ into forestry development and play the important role of bridging the current divide between agriculture and forestry.

Agroforestry has a long history and, indeed, pre-history in Indonesia, with claims that tree gardens were grown on the islands as early as 7000 BC. The system of farming with trees that we know in English as ‘agroforestry’ has been described in many of the languages of the archipelago, which is an indication of its widespread adoption: parak in Maninjau, West Sumatra; pelak in Kerinci, Jambi; repong damar around Krui, Lampung; tembawang in West Kalimantan; simpukung and kebun in East Kalimantan; talun and dudukuhan in West Java; wono and kitren in Central Java; tenganan in Bali; and amarasi in East Nusa Tenggara.

‘This strategy won’t have any meaning unless it is implemented effectively’, said Dr Iman Santoso, head of the Forestry Research and Development Agency. ‘It won’t be possible to achieve the goals of the strategy by the Agency alone. We will collaborate with other organizations, particularly the new Agroforestry Research Centre at Ciamis , which will lead the implementation, and especially with the World Agroforestry Centre.’

This was reinforced by Dr Ing Ir Hadi Daryano DEA, the secretary general of the Ministry of Forestry, who stated that it was important for the Government to carry out the strategy based on the priorities of Indonesia while taking into account the larger context of decentralization, democratization and the potentials and pitfalls of the free market.

Research and development will focus on four priority areas. First, understanding and improving smallholders’ production systems and the markets for their products. Second, developing agroforestry systems  in state forest areas under community-based management. Third, finding and developing the optimal agroforestry systems that are resilient to climate change. And, fourth, enhancing agroforestry practices to protect and maintain environmental services.

‘This is really a wonderful development that will have immense benefits for the people of Indonesia’, said Prof August Temu, deputy director general of the World Agroforestry Centre, at the launch of the strategy. ‘On behalf of the Centre, I want to convey to the Forestry Research and Development Agency and the Ministry of Forestry that we are very honoured to have been invited to play a large role in supporting the development of the strategy. We are looking forward with excitement to more research collaboration and seeing more productive agroforestry systems throughout Indonesia.’

Implementation of the strategy will not be without its challenges. According to the Government’s own data, more than 30 million people live in poverty; land tenure is insecure, with around 20 000 tenure-related conflicts at any given time; forestland is increasingly degraded; there is competition between conservation and development priorities; low progress on Government programs to increase community participation in forest management; climate change is bringing more variable weather and extreme events; and agroforestry research to date has been limited in scope and unsystematic.

There are, however, also opportunities, such as a good-sized pool of knowledge about agroforestry, especially at the World Agroforestry Centre itself; there are plenty of potential partners for collaborative research and development; and Government policy now fully supports agroforestry as a possible solution to many of the challenges above.

‘We have high hopes for the fulfilment of the research priorities’, said Dr Simons. ‘The strategy is complementary with the Centre’s global research strategy. The two will reinforce each other’.


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This work is linked to the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry






Rob Finlayson

Robert Finlayson is the Southeast Asia program's regional communications specialist. As well as writing stories for the Centre's website, he devises and supervises strategies for projects and the countries in the Southeast Asia region, including scripting and producing videos, supervising editors and translators and also assisting with resource mobilization.

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