In the Peruvian Amazon, aspirations become reality with the first Agroforestry Concessions for smallholders
Authorities from the Regional Government of San Martín and the National Forest and Wildlife Service (SERFOR), in an official and highly symbolic ceremony, granted the first Agroforestry Concessions to 14 farmers. This innovative legal mechanism aims at formalizing the land tenure of farmers occupying state forest land, providing they commit to avoid further expansion into the forest and adopt agroforestry and sustainable production practices.
The meeting was attended by the Director of SERFOR, the Vice-Minister of Environment and by representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Directorate of Foreign Commerce and Tourism, the Natural Protected Areas Service, international technical cooperation organizations, national and local NGOs, and producers’ associations.
Dr. SERFOR Director, John Leigh and José Antonio Chero Colán, ICRAF collaborator.
Dr. Lucía Ruiz Ostoic, Vice-Minister of Natural Resources and Strategic Development, Ministry of Environmentand José Antonio Chero Colán, ICRAF collaborator.
Almost 7 years after the approval of the Forestry Law (Law 29763), two years after the approval of the subsidiary law, and one year after the promulgation of the technical regulations for Agroforestry Concessions, a first group of smallholders obtained the legal right to occupation for 40 years.
ICRAF´s technical modules on Agroforestry Concessions captured the attention of national authorities and farmers alike.
Lead researcher Valentina Robiglio and her team were able to produce initial evidence on the main socio-technical opportunities, challenges and trade-offs related to the implementation of Agroforestry Concessions. It was gratifying to everyone at the meeting to witness how the farmers’ openness in sharing their perspectives on agroforestry and on the challenge of reducing forest conversion, as well as information about their livelihood strategies and production systems, has been rewarded by the granting of these concession titles.
The granting of the Agroforestry Concessions opens a new and exciting phase for the research-in-development agenda related to agroforestry transition for smallholders: exciting, particularly, because of the positive impact to be had through further co-learning about implementation and expansion of the scale of agroforestry.
Two new holders of Agroforestry Concessions in Marisol and Lamas, San Martin, Peru.
This implies the development of capacities for registering farmers in eligible zones and for monitoring land use and the reduction of current technical, legal and bureaucratic barriers. A favorable enabling context has to be established to help farmers comply and reduce their need to convert more forest to agriculture, through the adoption of sustainable production practices based on agroforestry and small-scale forestry.
Challenges lie ahead, because these farmers who live on the margins of forest do so in varying socioecological contexts, with heterogeneous livelihoods and capacities to undertake the transition towards sustainability.
The potential impact is large: the Agroforestry Concession mechanism could benefit more than 120,000 families as they shift to sustainable management of more than 1 million hectares, almost half of which consists of remnant forest patches in landscape mosaics of fundamental importance for biodiversity conservation and climate-change mitigation.
For more information about the Agroforestry Concessions
ICRAF has published a series of technical modules about (a) legal aspects, technical and management prescriptions for smallholders to access Agroforestry Concessions; (b) geographic distribution of beneficiaries and the mitigation potential of Agroforestry Concessions in the Amazon area; and (c) identification of eligible zones for the implementation of Agroforestry Concessions.