Adoption of agroforestry technologies enhances incomes of 630,000 rural residents in Sulawesi

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Farmers plant rice in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photo by T. Saputro/CIFOR

Outcome/Impact statement

A recent external assessment of the FTA AgFor project (2011-2017) found that the project’s use of the participatory processes, capacity building and the adoption of tree domestication technologies, improved the livelihoods and income of poor women and men farmers in Sulawesi.

Detailed outcome story

The Agroforestry and Forestry in Sulawesi: Linking Knowledge with Action (AgFor) project sought to improve equitable and sustainable agroforestry and forestry-based livelihoods’ systems for rural communities in Sulawesi. To achieve this goal the project focused on improvement of natural resources and agricultural awareness, access and skills and the development of equitable participatory governance.

The summative project evaluation conducted in 2017 reported the following headline achievements:

  • 636,972 people (52% women) improved their income as a result of adopting AgFor-promoted tree domestication technologies.
  • 780,273 ha were placed under improved sustainable natural resource management, including agroforestry, agricultural and forestry systems.
  • 21,360 individuals (36% women) gained greater knowledge of sustainable natural resource management through formal and informal workshops, training and meetings.
  • 19 technical guidelines were published on smallholders’ nursery management, seedling propagation, organic fertilizer production, species’ prioritization, farmers’ demonstration trials, and smallholders’ production of the priority crops (cacao, rubber, coffee, black pepper, timber, clove, durian, rambutan, orange and nutmeg).
  • 21 management scenarios of priority agroforestry systems were generated via computer modelling simulations.
  • 13,298 individuals (35% women) were trained in agroforestry management at 725 events.
  • 15,272 individuals (35% women) were trained in nursery management and tree propagation at 1082 events.
  • 348 group and individual nurseries operated by partners during the reporting period produced 2,326,292 seedlings.
  • 954,473 residents in 42 sub-districts benefited from improved access to quality tree seedlings produced in farmers’ tree nurseries.
  • 562 farmers’ demonstration trials were established with 3469 farmers (36% women).
  • 139 farmers’ groups with a combined membership of 2881 individuals (35% women) actively participated in AgFor’s activities.
  • 27 students (19 Indonesian and 8 international) conducted field research for their academic programs in collaboration with AgFor.

In Year 5 of the project, an impact study was conducted to measure the effectiveness of the achievements related to gender issues. The study showed that learning in a group contributed to changes to communities’ attitudes on gender. Some women were empowered and reached parity with their husbands, some women were not empowered but had parity with their husbands, and some were empowered but had not reached parity. Three different types of impact from AgFor’s activities were identified.

  • The most significant change was improvement of skills and knowledge regarding nursery and garden management, and a corresponding strengthening of leadership skills. Under these conditions, couples readily shared knowledge and skills regarding farming practices. The learning process was not limited to the person attending the activity but also flowed to the non-attending spouse (either husband or wife).
  • Approximately 21% of the women involved in AgFor’s activities were not empowered. This condition often occurred in poor households and especially those without an extended family nearby. Other factors influencing this condition were different preferences and interests of the spouses and infrequent attendance at AgFor’s activities, which limited men and women’s exposure to new information and success stories.
  • The women involved in AgFor’s activities experienced a greater level of empowerment (0.89) compared to women not involved (0.68). Men involved in AgFor also felt a higher level of empowerment than those who were not involved, 0.89 compared to 0.84, respectively.

Conducive factors needed to be considered when planning and providing gender equity support to make sure that the process of change was likely to occur. An active and consistent involvement in farmers’ learning groups was one of the key factors. Another challenge was how to identify community members as potential leaders to be involved in farmers’ groups and also make sure the groups well managed. From the perspective of transformative learning theory, the relations of women and men could be changed by their involvement in community organizations; changes experienced by the participants gradually would become a reference for the wider community and a trigger for subsequent changes in society.

The participatory approach used in AgFor, as well as providing options and the skills needed to identify the consequences of each option, was crucial to ensuring that both women and men could resolve their problems independently. Women (and men) were given the option of being involved actively, partly or just occasionally. This freedom of choice provided the opportunity for ‘tailor-made’ support for building negotiation capacity/skills as a good basis for household communication. Specifically encouraging women to attend training or meetings was necessary to ensure they had a chance to improve, and share, their knowledge.

Key contributors

  • Global Affairs Canada
  • Operasi Wallacea Terpadu (Operational Wallacea Trust)
  • Forestry and Environmental Research, Development and Innovation Agency (FOERDIA)
  • University of Copenhagen
  • Universitas Hasanuddin, Makassar
  • University of Zürich, Switzerland



Gaol, Amy Lumban and Dahlia, Lia. February 2017. Indonesian president hands over management of forests to indigenous people.

Relevant scientific publications

A total of 19 peer-reviewed documents, 30 working papers, 24 conference papers and 14 policy briefs were published from AgFor research findings, published knowledge products include:

  1. Roshetko JM, Dawson IK, Urquiola J, Lasco RD, Leimona B, Weber JC, Bozzano M, Lillesø JPB, Graudal L, Jamnadass R. 2017. To what extent are genetic resources considered in environmental service provision? A case study based on trees, carbon sequestration and the Clean Development Mechanism. Climate and Development DOI:
  2. Roshetko JM, Mercado Jr AR, Martini E, Prameswari D. 2017. Agroforestry in the uplands of Southeast Asia. Policy Brief no. 77. Agroforestry options for ASEAN series no. 5. Bogor, Indonesia: World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Southeast Asia Regional Program; Jakarta, Indonesia: ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change. pg 12.
  3. Roshetko, JM and A Perdana. 2017. The Significance of Planted Teak for Smallholder Farmers. 66-70. In: Kolbert W and Kleine M (eds), The Global Teak Study, Analysis, Evaluation and Future Potential of Teak Resources. IUFRO World Series Volume 36. Vienna. 108 p.
  4. Roshetko JM, Purnomosidhi P, Sabastian G, Dahlia L, Mahrizal M, Mulyoutami E, Perdana A, Megawati M, Riyandoko R, Maulana HT, Anggrayani S, and Martini E. 2017. Ethnobotanical Use and Commercial Potential of Moringa oleifera in Indonesia: An Underused and Under-recognized Species. Acta Horticulturea 1158: 349- 356. DOI:
  5. Irawan US, Moestrup S, Harum F, Roshetko JM, Purwanto E, Iriantono D. 2017. Field manual decentralised procurement of tree seed. Operasi Wallacea Terpadu, University of Copenhagen. 51 p.
  6. Irawan US, Moestrup S, Harum F, Roshetko JM, Purwanto E, Iriantono D. 2017. Manual lapangan desentralisasi pengadaan benih pohon. Operasi Wallacea Terpadu, University of Copenhagen. 53 p.
  7. Irawan US, Purwanto E, Roshetko JM, Iriantono D, Harum F, Moestrup 2017 Smallholder Nursery Practices in Southeast Sulawesi: Seedling for planting and business. Journal of Agricultural Studies 5 (2): 126-140.
  8. Rahman SA, Jacobsen JB, Healey JR, Roshetko JM, Sunderland T. 2017. Finding alternatives to swidden agriculture: does agroforestry improve livelihood options and reduce pressure on existing forest? Agroforestry Systems 91:185-199
  9. Rahman SA, Sunderland T, Roshetko JM, and Healey JR. 2017 Facilitating Smallholder Tree Farming in Fragmented Tropical Landscapes: Challenges and Potentials for Sustainable Land Management. Journal of Environmental Management 198: 110-121.
  10. Wangpakapattanawong, P., Ratnamhin, A., Öborn, I., Roshetko, J.M., Jamieson, C., Perdana, A., Mulyoutami, E., Riyandoko, Finalyson, R., Simelton, E., Sabastian, G., Mercado Jr, A. 2017. Chapter 2 Planning, designing, developing and managing agroforestry systems in rice-production landscapes in Southeast Asia. Pg 19-56. In: Wangpakapattanawong, P., Finlayson, R., Öborn, I., Roshetko, J.M., Sinclair, F., Shono, K., Borelli, S., Hillbrand, A. & Conigliaro, M., eds. 2017. Agroforestry in rice-production landscapes in Southeast Asia: a practical manual. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand & World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Southeast Asia Regional Program, Bogor, Indonesia.  92 pg.
  11. Watenberg A, Blaser, WJ, Gattinger A, Roshetko JM, van Noordwijk M, Six J. 2017. Does shade tree diversity increase soil fertility in cocoa plantations? Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 248: 190-199.


James M Roshetko, Agroforestry Systems Scientist. Leader Trees, Agroforestry Management and Markets Unit, ICRAF SEA Programme,


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