More sustainable and climate-smart farms with agroforestry

Farmer leaders and technicians from the agriculture office in the municipality of Lantapan, Philippines are learning about sustainable, tree-based farming that can help them adapt to climate change.


A group of 37 farmer leaders and agricultural technicians from Lantapan, Bukidnon Province attended a training workshop on various sustainable, tree-based farming systems, as promoted by the World Agroforestry Centre. This was one of the activities during the second year of the Climate-smart, Tree-based Co-investment in Adaptation and Mitigation in Asia (Smart Tree-Invest) project in the Philippines. Smart Tree-Invest is supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.

Farmer leaders from 11 of the 14 villages of Lantapan and technicians from the Municipal Agriculture Office visited the Conservation Agriculture with Trees (CAWT) Center in Claveria, Misamis Oriental Province, 13–14 July 2015. Some of the participants were also representatives of active farmers’ and irrigators’ organizations and the Talaandig tribe in Lantapan.

Farmers and agricultural technicians from Lantapan, southern Philippines listen to Dr Mercado explain the different agroforestry systems at the CAWT Center. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Kharmina Paola Anit-Evangelista

Farmers and agricultural technicians from Lantapan, southern Philippines listen to Dr Mercado explain the different agroforestry systems at the CAWT Center. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Kharmina Paola Anit-Evangelista

The participants learned about different farming systems and practices, such as vegetable agroforestry, rubber agroforestry, cocoa agroforestry, conservation agriculture with trees, rainwater harvesting and the use of animal-built embankments and animal-drawn scrapers. Dr Agustin Mercado Jr, the World Agroforestry Centre research manager at CAWT, discussed these systems along with the role of trees in climate-change adaptation.

One of the farmers noted during the evaluation of the training workshop that, ‘For me, trees on farms are important because they help in conserving nutrients in the soil and protecting our cash crops’.

During the training, they also planned how to integrate the systems into their own farms and villages. The farmers sketched the current and desired states of their farms or communities. They also identified the available resources that could be used, and the activities they could implement, in developing their areas towards the desired states.

‘I will practise what I learned from this training and share it with the other farmers in my village’, confirmed one of the participants.

The farmers were consulted as well regarding the development of a ‘co-investment scheme’ in their municipality. Such a scheme typically involves communities and other sectors investing in the protection of environmental services, such as clean air, clean water and reduced soil erosion. They discussed who should participate in any such scheme, what activities could be funded through co-investment, and where, when and how these activities might be conducted. The participants identified specific climate-smart, tree-based farming activities that could be funded through co-investment. These included nursery development, provision of seedlings, and further training.

‘Overall, the participants were very active throughout the training and very eager to present their workshop outputs’, noted Regine Evangelista, one of the Smart Tree-Invest researchers in the Philippines. She also noted that some participants borrowed publications from the CAWT Center to learn more about the farming systems.

One of the objectives of the Smart Tree-Invest project is to enable local communities to devise climate-smart, tree-based adaptation practices in collaboration with local government and the private sector.

The project team hoped that the farmers would share what learned during the training with other farmers in their communities. By practising these farming systems themselves, the farmer leaders will inspire fellow farmers to do the same.


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

Amy Cruz

Amy Cruz is the communications officer for the World Agroforestry Centre Philippines. She is developing an integrated communications strategy for the Philippine program, scripting and editing videos and promoting projects through various media. Her other interests include social media, writing and photography. She has a Bachelor of Science in Development Communication, major in Science Communication.

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