Improving agroforestry contributions to the rural livelihood through value chain analysis: a case study in West and East Thailand

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Agroforestry has been an important alternative in land management systems to improve rural livelihood due to its capability to generate employment and income. The success story of In-Peng Community Group in Thailand in restoring their agroforestry system after the dark period of monoculture agricultural practices and tree production provide an example of the critical roles of agroforestry (Muktasam 2004). The local community livelihood was deteriorated by the government's decision to grow export-oriented crops through a monoculture system. Putting the critical roles of agroforestry in perspective at the community level, the role of agroforestry can be improved through a systematic value chain analysis of agroforestry products, both timber and non-timber. The analysis provides comprehensive information with regards to chain actors, activities, added value, employment, profit distributions, and gaps in knowledge and skills. Through better understanding of the agroforestry product value chains, various interventions can be taken to promote a more strategic contribution of agroforestry system. A study of existing agroforestry practices in west and east Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia provides an illustration on how value chain analysis supports effective interventions to improve local community livelihood particularly in generating employment opportunities and income. The preliminary data presents the limited activity of the local community, the first level actor in the value chain, in processing products such as fruits, coffee, bamboo, candlenut and honey, due to lack of knowledge and skills. Consequently, the existing agroforestry management has made a limited contribution to employment and income generation. The analysis suggests the need to improve the existing agroforestry system to grow more profitable agroforestry products and increase the capacity of local communities not only in agroforestry management but also in processing and marketing of agroforestry products.

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