Agroforestry and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals
- Cite this article as:
- Garrity, D. Agroforestry Systems (2004) 61: 5. doi:10.1023/B:AGFO.0000028986.37502.7c
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of the United Nations (UN) are at the heart of the global development agenda. This chapter examines the role of agroforestry research and development (R&D) in light of the MDGs. It reviews some of the ways in which agroforestry is substantively assisting to achieve the goals and discusses how the agenda can be realigned to further increase its effectiveness in helping developing countries to meet their MDG targets. Promising agroforestry pathways to increase on-farm food production and income contribute to the first MDG, which aims to cut the number of hungry and desperately poor by at least half by 2015. Such pathways include fertilizer tree systems for smallholders with limited access to adequate crop nutrients, and expanded tree cropping and improved tree product processing and marketing. These advances can also help address lack of enterprise opportunities on small-scale farms, inequitable returns to small-scale farmers (especially women), child malnutrition, and national tree-product deficits (especially timber). The rate of return to investment in research on tree crops is quite high (88%); but enterprise development and enhancement of tree-product marketing has been badly neglected. The products, processing, and marketing of tree products and services, through tree domestication and the commercialization of their products is a new frontier for agroforestry R&D. A major role for agroforestry also is emerging in the domain of environmental services. This entails the development of mechanisms to reward the rural poor for the environmental services such as watershed protection and carbon sequestration that they provide to society. Agroforestry R&D is contributing to virtually all of the MDGs. But recognition for that role must be won by ensuring that more developing countries have national agroforestry strategies, and that agroforestry is a recognized part of their programs to achieve the MDGs.