So…Does Agroforestry Contribute to Food Security?

Dietary adequacy requires sufficient intake of both macronutrients (energy, protein and fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). The Green Revolution drove a global increase in production in just a few crop species, ultimately leading to a decrease in macronutrient deficiencies, but not necessarily micronutrient deficiencies. While 795 million people are estimated to be undernourished, around 2 billion people experience one or more micronutrient deficiencies. Micronutrient deficiencies are linked to low agrobiodiversity, low dietary diversity, increasing consumption of poor quality processed foods, and lack of education regarding nutrition. Malnutrition, including obesity, is the single largest contributor to the global burden of disease.

Figure 1: Diagram showing factors that influence the four components of food security in farmers. Source: produced by author.

Ongoing climate change, population growth, depleting agricultural inputs, depleting soil resources, changing diets, and limited land resources are increasingly putting pressure on modern intensive agricultural practices that focus on a few species. These pressures highlight the need to increase production of under-researched crop species and agricultural systems that require minimal input, have increased climatic resilience, are less environmentally damaging, can make use of marginal land, and can improve or maintain production in the long-term.

Diverse food systems can support a multifunctional landscape approach that combines improved food production, biodiversity conservation, ecosystem service provision, and improved agroecosystem stability and resilience. Agroforestry systems, are perhaps the most poignant examples of diverse food systems, and, thus, a useful point of entry for achieving sustainable food security.

Agroforestry can increase food availability by (1) directly providing tree foods (e.g. fruits and leafy vegetables) for increased macronutrient and micronutrient intake, (2) supporting staple crop production, (3) increasing farmers’ incomes through the sale of tree products and surplus staple crops, and (4) supporting various ecosystem services (e.g. pollination) that are essential for the productivity of certain crops. It can reduce problems associated with food accessibility by providing scarce products that are usually restricted by market access. It can improve food utilisation by (1) providing fuelwood for cooking, (2) reducing the need for harmful pesticides and herbicides that affect food safety, and (3) potentially reduce micronutrient deficiencies that cause diseases which affect the ability to consume or efficiently use food and nutrients, or obtain a steady income. It can increase food stability by (1) providing food from different species during periods of food scarcity, (2) ensuring consistent income through product diversification, and reducing the risks of focusing on one or few crops, (3) maintaining soil structure and soil fertility for long-term productivity, and 4) improving resilience to climate change induced shocks.

The ability of agroforestry to contribute to food security is widely claimed, but extensive reviews, regional overviews, long-term studies, and studies that explore the contribution of agroforestry to multiple aspects of food security are lacking. My study aimed to bridge some of this gap, providing an overview of the current knowledge surrounding the contribution of agroforestry to food security in West Java. The study revealed that agroforestry does contribute to food security in West Java, but the extent to which it contributes to different aspects of food security (i.e., food availability, food accessibility, food stability, and food utilisation) remains unclear. Agroforestry systems in West Java need to be optimised for improving different aspects of food security—which will probably require partial commercialisation, intensification, and value addition. The topic of agroforestry and food security in West Java and elsewhere needs to be revisited using metrics that provide a better outlook of multiple aspects of food security.

 

References:

Cerda, R., Deheuvels, O., Calvache, D., Niehaus, L., Saenz, Y., Kent, J., Vilchez, S., Villota, A., Martinez, C. & Somarriba, E. 2014. Contribution of Cocoa Agroforestry Systems to Family Income and Domestic Consumption: Looking toward Intensification. Agroforestry Systems, 88(6), 957-981.

Challinor, A. J., Watson, J., Lobell, D. B., Howden, S. M., Smith, D. R. & Chhetri, N. 2014. A Meta-Analysis of Crop Yield under Climate Change and Adaptation. Nature Climate Change, 4(4), 287-291.

Cordell, D., Drangert, J.-O. & White, S. 2009. The Story of Phosphorus: Global Food Security and Food for Thought. Global Environmental Change, 19(2), 292-305.

Davis, A. S., Hill, J. D., Chase, C. A., Johanns, A. M. & Liebman, M. 2012. Increasing Cropping System Diversity Balances Productivity, Profitability and Environmental Health. PLoS One, 7(10), e47149.

DeFries, R. S., Foley, J. A. & Asner, G. P. 2004. Land-Use Choices: Balancing Human Needs and Ecosystem Function. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 2(5), 249-257.

DeFries, R. S. & Rosenzweig, C. 2010. Toward a Whole-Landscape Approach for Sustainable Land Use in the Tropics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(46), 19627-19632.

DKP, KP & WFP 2015. Food Security and Vulnerability Atlas of Indonesia 2015. Jakarta, Indonesia: Dewan Ketahanan Pangan (DKP), Kementerian Pertanian (KP), and World Food Programme (WFP).

Dwivedi, S. L., Sahrawat, K., Upadhyaya, H. & Ortiz, R. 2013. Food, Nutrition, and Agrobiodiversity under Global Climate Change. Advances in Agronomy, 120, 1-128.

FAO 2013. The State of Food and Agriculture 2013: Food Systems for Better Nutrition. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

FAO 2015. The State of Food and Agriculture 2015: Social Protection and Agriculture – Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

Foley, J. A., DeFries, R. S., Asner, G. P., Barford, C., Bonan, G., Carpenter, S. R., Chapin III, F. S., Coe, M. T., Daily, G. C., Gibbs, H. K., Helkowski, J. H., Holloway, T., Howard, E. A., Kucharik, C. J., Monfreda, C., Patz, J. A., Prentice, C., Ramankutty, N. & Snyder, P. K. 2005. Global Consequences of Land Use. Science, 309(5734), 570-574.

Foley, J. A., Ramankutty, N., Brauman, K. A., Cassidy, E. S., Gerber, J. S., Johnston, M., Mueller, N. D., O’Connell, C., Ray, D. K., West, P. C., Balzer, C., Bennett, E. M., Carpenter, S. R., Hill, J., Monfreda, C., Polasky, S., Rockstrom, J., Sheehan, J., Siebert, S., Tilman, D. & Zaks, D. P. 2011. Solutions for a Cultivated Planet. Nature, 478(7369), 337-42.

Frison, E. A., Cherfas, J. & Hodgkin, T. 2011. Agricultural Biodiversity Is Essential for a Sustainable Improvement in Food and Nutrition Security. Sustainability, 3(12), 238-253.

Garrity, D. P. 2004. Agroforestry and the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Agroforestry Systems, 61(1-3), 5-17.

Godfray, H. C. & Garnett, T. 2014. Food Security and Sustainable Intensification. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B Biological Sciences, 369(1639), 20120273.

Gómez, M. I., Barrett, C. B., Raney, T. L., Pinstrup-Andersen, P., Meerman, J., Croppenstedt, A., Carisma, B. & Thompson, B. 2013. Post-Green Revolution Food Systems and the Triple Burden of Malnutrition. Food Policy, 42, 129-138.

Hajjar, R., Jarvis, D. I. & Gemmill-Herren, B. 2008. The Utility of Crop Genetic Diversity in Maintaining Ecosystem Services. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 123(4), 261-270.

Ickowitz, A., Powell, B., Salim, M. A. & Sunderland, T. C. H. 2014. Dietary Quality and Tree Cover in Africa. Global Environmental Change, 24, 287-294.

Ickowitz, A., Rowland, D., Powell, B., Salim, M. A. & Sunderland, T. C. H. 2016. Forests, Trees, and Micronutrient-Rich Food Consumption in Indonesia. PLoS ONE, 11(5).

Jamnadass, R., Place, F., Torquebiau, E., Malézieux, E., Iiyama, M., Sileshi, G. W., Kehlenbeck, K., Masters, E., McMullin, S., Weber, J. C. & Dawson, I. K. 2013. Agroforestry, Food and Nutritional Security. ICRAF Working Paper No. 170. Nairobi, Kenya: World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).

Jarvis, A., Ramirez-Villegas, J., Campo, B. V. H. & Navarro-Racines, C. 2012. Is Cassava the Answer to African Climate Change Adaptation? Tropical Plant Biology, 5(1), 9-29.

Jose, S. 2009. Agroforestry for Ecosystem Services and Environmental Benefits: An Overview. Agroforestry Systems, 76(1), 1-10.

Kastner, T., Rivas, M. J. I., Koch, W. & Nonhebel, S. 2012. Global Changes in Diets and the Consequences for Land Requirements for Food. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(18), 6868–6872.

Khoury, C. K., Bjorkman, A. D., Dempewolf, H., Ramirez-Villegas, J., Guarino, L., Jarvis, A., Rieseberg, L. H. & Struik, P. C. 2014. Increasing Homogeneity in Global Food Supplies and the Implications for Food Security. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(11), 4001-6.

Kremen, C. & Miles, A. 2012. Ecosystem Services in Biologically Diversified Versus Conventional Farming Systems: Benefits, Externalities, and Trade-Offs. Ecology and Society, 17(4).

Kumar, B. M. 2006. Agroforestry: The New Old Paradigm for Asian Food Security. Journal of Tropical Agriculture, 44(1-2), 1-14.

Kumar, B. M. & Nair, P. K. R. 2004. The Enigma of Tropical Homegardens. Agroforestry Systems, 61(1-3), 135-152.

Lobell, D. B., Burke, M. B., Tebaldi, C., Mastrandrea, M. D., Falcon, W. P. & Naylor, R. L. 2008. Prioritizing Climate Change Adaptation Needs for Food Security in 2030. Science, 319(5863), 607-10.

Mijatović, D., Van Oudenhoven, F., Eyzaguirre, P. & Hodgkin, T. 2013. The Role of Agricultural Biodiversity in Strengthening Resilience to Climate Change: Towards an Analytical Framework. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 11(2), 95-107.

Powell, B., Thilsted, S. H., Ickowitz, A., Termote, C., Sunderland, T. C. H. & Herforth, A. 2015. Improving Diets with Wild and Cultivated Biodiversity from across the Landscape. Food Security, 7(3), 535-554.

Ray, D. K., Mueller, N. D., West, P. C. & Foley, J. A. 2013. Yield Trends Are Insufficient to Double Global Crop Production by 2050. PLoS One, 8(6), e66428.

Reed, J., van Vianen, J., Foli, S., Clendenning, J., Yang, K., MacDonald, M., Petrokofsky, G., Padoch, C. & Sunderland, T. C. H. 2017. Trees for Life: The Ecosystem Service Contribution of Trees to Food Production and Livelihoods in the Tropics. Forest Policy and Economics.

Sayer, J., Sunderland, T., Ghazoul, J., Pfund, J. L., Sheil, D., Meijaard, E., Venter, M., Boedhihartono, A. K., Day, M., Garcia, C., van Oosten, C. & Buck, L. E. 2013. Ten Principles for a Landscape Approach to Reconciling Agriculture, Conservation, and Other Competing Land Uses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(21), 8349-8356.

Shetty, P. 2006. Malnutrition and Undernutrition. Medicine, 34(12), 524-529.

Steffan-Dewenter, I., Kessler, M., Barkmann, J., Bos, M. M., Buchori, D., Erasmi, S., Faust, H., Gerold, G., Glenk, K., Gradstein, S. R., Guhardja, E., Harteveld, M., Hertel, D., Höhn, P., Kappas, S., Köhler, S., Leuschner, C., Maertens, M., Marggraf, R., Sporn, S. G., Steingrebe, A., Tjitrosoedirdjo, S. S., Tjitrosoemito, S., Twele, A., Weber, R. W., Woltmann, L., Zeller, M. & Tscharntke, T. 2007. Tradeoffs between Income, Biodiversity, and Ecosystem Functioning During Tropical Rainforest Conversion and Agroforestry Intensification. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(12), 4973-4978.

Stehfest, E., Bouwman, L., van Vuuren, D. P., den Elzen, M. G. J., Eickhout, B. & Kabat, P. 2009. Climate Benefits of Changing Diet. Climatic Change, 95(1-2), 83-102.

Sunderland, T. C. H. 2011. Food Security: Why Is Biodiversity Important? International Forestry Review, 13(3), 265-274.

Welch, R. M. 2001. Micronutrients, Agriculture and Nutrition: Linkages for Improved Health and Well Being. In: Singh, K., Mori, S. & Welch, R. M. (eds.) Perspectives on the Micronutrient Nutrition of Crops. Jodhpur, India: Scientific Publishers (India).

Wheeler, T. & van Braun, J. 2013. Climate Change Impacts on Global Food Security. Science, 341(6145), 508-513.

WHO & CBD 2015. Connecting Global Priorities: Biodiversity and Human Health – a State of Knowledge Review. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization (WHO), and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Wollenberg, E., Richards, M., Smith, P., Havlik, P., Obersteiner, M., Tubiello, F. N., Herold, M., Gerber, P., Carter, S., Reisinger, A., van Vuuren, D. P., Dickie, A., Neufeldt, H., Sander, B. O., Wassmann, R., Sommer, R., Amonette, J. E., Falcucci, A., Herrero, M., Opio, C., Roman-Cuesta, R. M., Stehfest, E., Westhoek, H., Ortiz-Monasterio, I., Sapkota, T., Rufino, M. C., Thornton, P. K., Verchot, L., West, P. C., Soussana, J. F., Baedeker, T., Sadler, M., Vermeulen, S. & Campbell, B. M. 2016. Reducing Emissions from Agriculture to Meet the 2°C Target. Global Change Biology, 22(12), 3859-3864.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *