Theme 5: Improving value chains, markets and product differentiation of AgroForestry products and their environmental services

    How do we strengthen farmers' organizations to benefit more from their AFS?

The objective of this theme is to enhance the linkage of sustainable AFS management and environmental benefits with increased producers` remuneration through improved access to and successful participation in national and international markets. In order to increase the economic benefits accruing from value chain integration, the following strategies will be investigated and developed: (i) promising institutional arrangements between value chain actors; (ii) improved marketing strategies for environmentally friendly products and environmental services; and (iii) opportunities to reduce costs and/or add value to AFS products, including ES payments. Actor specific recommendations will be formulated and disseminated to political decision makers, private sector representatives and NGOs regarding the policy mix needed to stimulate production in AFS and sale of environmental services: e.g., adapting certification schemes for environmental-friendly and quality products; developing green purchasing policies and ES payments under local (e.g., watershed arrangements, eco-tourism) or global schemes (e.g., carbon markets, biodiversity incentives).


  • Carry out case studies to document and analyze exemplary value chains for certified quality labeled AF products, including timber, coffee and cacao. Identification of factors in value chains leading to success or failure, including demand orientation, information and communication flow, and risk and benefit sharing mechanisms among key chain actors.
  • Identify the critical success factors for buyers of environmentally friendly AFS products, including importers, supermarket chains, and alternative trade promotion organizations, in particular regarding their preferences in terms of quality and certification criteria, minimum volumes and contractual arrangements. Special emphasis will be put on (dis)satisfaction with the existing offer of certified products and price premiums available for different kinds of certification, in both producing and developing countries. Surveys of business intermediaries regarding barriers to increasing their services and impacts on first, second and third tier FBO.
  • Evaluation of potential markets for ES provided by AFS, at local, national and international level, with identification of constraints, requirements and transaction costs of different options. Evaluate the impact of such markets on the profitability of AFS relative to other systems.
  • Analysis of the costs and benefits, along the whole value chain, of converting conventional farming systems into AFS and of complying with the requirements of different certification schemes.
  • Comparisons and contrasts of communication channels, respect the cost, effectiveness, efficiency and flexibility of different options to promote communication: e.g., amongst actors along the value chains; between consumers and producers; between producer groups (to achieve critical mass and bargaining power); and of R+D professionals as well as business service providers with different actors along the value chain.
  • Studies and documentation to promote the certification of AFS within the framework of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol, considering that the AFS can be classified as ‘forests’ (COP Marrakech, 2001), that ‘reforestation’ can occur on degraded lands, that AFS provide a renewable fuel, that AFS may represent a C sink and that using AFS helps prevent deforestation (COP Nairobi, 2006).


Thomas LEGRAND, PhD student, institutional analysis of Costa Rican PES [email]
Dietmar STOIAN, economist, CATIE [email] [publications]
, food processing, CIRAD [email]