The role of tree domestication in green market product value chain development

Leakey, Roger, and van Damme, Patrick (2014) The role of tree domestication in green market product value chain development. Forests, Trees and Livelihoods, 23 (1-2). pp. 116-126.

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Internationally, there is interest in increasing the trade in ‘green’ market products, such as organic, fair trade, reduction of deforestation and forest degradation/reduction of deforestation and forest degradation+ for reduced deforestation and mitigation of climate change, and environmental goods and services. This crucially needs to be extended to the many poor, hungry and marginalized smallholder farmers in developing countries. In this context, agroforestry tree domestication has made great progress over the last 20 years, especially in Africa with the emergence of many new tree crops for food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries across many agro-ecological zones. Tree domestication is important for the enhancement of economic returns as value chains from local to global become more sophisticated and demand higher quality, greater uniformity and a regular and continuous supply. Local farmers are now developing cultivars creating direct benefits from the marketing of food and non-food products in local and regional markets. This creates business and employment opportunities in local cottage industries. Likewise, through the indirect environmental and ecological services provided by trees, food security can be greatly enhanced by closing the yield gap (the difference between the potential and actual yield) of modern crop varieties. In this way, agroforestry is adding income generation to agroecological approaches which together reverse the cycle of land degradation and social deprivation and transforming the lives of poor farmers. However, these benefits do not come without some risks from the loss of genetic diversity, local rights over genetic resources and exploitation by unscrupulous entrepreneurs. Agroforestry developments are therefore focusing on better access to ‘green’ business opportunities for poor smallholder farmers in Africa by maximizing the benefits and minimizing the risks.

Item ID: 38863
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2164-3075
Keywords: agroforestry tree products, genetic diversity, indigenous tree species, livelihoods, REDD+
Date Deposited: 07 May 2015 23:41
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