GCP and P4F learnings and resources

Championing agroforestry for farmer resilience and prosperity in East Africa

Partnerships for Forests (P4F) and GCP finished a one-year program on how to integrate agroforestry components into policies and processes in three East African countries: Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.

Thanks to a cooperation agreement signed at the end of June 2022, P4F funded GCP and three Country Platforms in GCP’s Network to embed regenerative and agroforestry practices into the coffee value chain, strengthen forest protection, and enhance the relevant governance structures at the national and regional levels.

About 10% of the global coffee supply comes from Africa, of which 95% is grown by smallholders. Their inability to make a Living Income from coffee production, however, threatens forests as farmers attempt to expand their areas of production. Such coping mechanisms are counterproductive, as forest resources are crucial to farmers’ long-term prosperity.

In response, the GCP-P4F partnership focused on the intersection between climate resilience and farmer prosperity. Agroforestry is a key strategy to reach these goals, by helping farms mitigate the effects of climate change and supporting farmers’ economic prosperity via income diversification.

For GCP Program Manager Countries and Partnerships, Lauren Weiss, the work has been key for moving forward GCP’s 2.0 strategy and the activities of this project “have laid the groundwork for the GCP Country Plans for Farmer Prosperity in Uganda and Kenya, to help achieve our 2030 goal of transformational change on farmer prosperity by closing at least 25% of the living income gap for more than one million smallholder farmers in more than 10 countries. We are grateful that our partnership with P4F enabled this work and look forward to potential future collaboration to strengthen these endeavors.”

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Advancing governance for agroforestry and forest protection

One of the key outcomes of this partnership was the analysis of the current policy environment on forestry in both Uganda and Kenya, and recommendations for their improvement.
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Through the Uganda and Kenya Country Platforms, key stakeholders explored the existing policy gaps at the national level and potential improvements to support agroforestry and forest protection practices. These discussions and resulting reports were key for bringing this topic to the top of the agenda in 2022-2023 for national and provincial/district governments, which has proven to be extremely timely given the European Union Deforestation Regulation that entered into force on 29 June 2023.

“The process in these East African Countries has been successful in bringing important topics to the table, such as the changes in the European legislation on Deforestation. Thanks to the work with P4F, GCP-affiliated Country Platforms, particularly in Kenya and Uganda, have started to take on a convening and facilitating role to bring public and private stakeholders together to develop a response.”

– Lauren Weiss, GCP Program Manager Countries and Partnerships

For the Program Manager of the Kenya Coffee Platform, George Watene, this P4F project, and in particular the policy analysis on forestry in Kenya, influenced the development of a common stakeholder position organized by the Kenya Coffee Platform on the new EU Deforestation-Free Regulation (EUDR) presented to the European Coffee Federation.

In addition to the policy analysis, P4F supported the Kenya and Uganda Coffee Platforms to establish governance structures to further foster agroforestry and forest protection. In Uganda the creation of Agroforestry Working Committees (AWCs) at the district level allowed for further dialogue and awareness raising, to support the uptake of agroforestry practices.

“A lot of what GCP stands for is effective stakeholder engagement and advocacy, and that has been the most important part of this partnership during the last 12 months,” says the Country Coordinator of Uganda, Samson Emong.

“We had what we call public-private partnership events [co-hosted with the AWCs] and that is where we brought stakeholders together to discuss agroforestry. The discussions were so meaningful. I consider it one of our biggest achievements because we did not only discuss agroforestry aspect as an agenda aspect for the private and public sector, but it also enabled us to bring most of the traders that we are working with to invest in this like a key aspect.”

Revising the National Sustainability Curricula

Thanks to this P4F-supported project, Tanzania and Kenya revised their National Sustainability Curricula (NSCs) to include more comprehensive and up-to-date information on how to integrate agroforestry and forest protection into sustainable coffee farming.

The NSCs are guidelines on good agricultural and sustainability practices, used by extension services to support coffee farmers’ training. They adapt globally-recognized sustainability principles and practices – as outlined in the Coffee Sustainability Reference Code – to the country’s context. The guidelines are developed in collaboration with key coffee stakeholders in the country and are endorsed by the government.

The revisions further ensured that the NSC are aligned with the CSRC released in 2022, while Tanzania’s also includes alignment with the country’s 2020–2025 National Coffee Strategy. Tanzania’s revised version expands upon sustainable agricultural land management practices, resource conservation and biodiversity, and voluntary sustainability standards, which include social and environmental responsibility.

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The revised NSCs were also tested in the field to learn how to introduce educational programs to farmers, especially from an agroforestry perspective. For the Coordinator of Tanzania’s Coffee Platform, Samora Mnyaonga, there are many challenges in the way effective farmer education is developed. “We need to focus on the way we can train the farmers on how to use the recommended tree species with the coffee.” says Mnyaonga.

“Sometimes we can go with the idea of increasing or bringing awareness to the farmers in the issue of agroforestry, especially planting trees, but we forget the recommended trees for the coffee farms.”

Pilot: Betting on agroforestry

Building on the partnership’s work to foster a stronger enabling environment for agroforestry, pilots were conducted in both Kenya and Uganda.

In Nyeri County, Kenya, a seedling nursery was established, and 55 youths (ages 18-35) were trained on agroforestry best practices. The objective is to implement a training-of-trainer approach for these youth to reach 500 farmers with training in agroforestry.

“It was finally decided to work with youth who have come together in a community-based organization, for two reasons. One, that they can turn this community training into a money-making activity for sustainability, And two, because we also set up a nursery in that area and they’ll be able to manage these nurseries and they will be the ones making the seedlings available, for some revenue, to the other farmers in the ground. From these, we also discovered the opportunity of them working with the Kenya Forest Service in getting other seedlings of indigenous trees that they can grow together as part of the business,” said Watene.

Similarly, in Uganda, P4F supported piloting agroforestry via the establish of nurseries and distribution of seedlings as part of the GCP Collective Action Initiative: “Youth for Coffee in Uganda.” According to Emong, the platform was able to adapt to be more effective in working with the farmers.

“As a platform we had to change our messaging and it is important to be fluid, from telling farmers to grow only coffee to diversifying with other fruit crops, to now agroforestry, and it is important to tell farmers to look at diverse farming as an important aspect to improve their living income and the household income.”

The process in these East African Countries has been successful in bringing important topics to the table and thanks to the work with P4F.


Get in touch with the team about this work:

Lauren Weiss

Senior Manager Countries and Partnershipsemail me