Agroforestry for livelihoods of smallholder famers in Northwest Vietnam

Project Timeframe:
Nov 2011 to Oct 2016

Related country(s)



Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR)


Complex agroforestry systems (CAFS) trial in Co Noi,
Mai Sơn, Son La
(Photo: ICRAF Vietnam/Pham Duc Thanh)

Son tra (Docynia indica) top-working experiment in Toa Tinh, 
tuan Giao, Dien Bien 
(Photo: ICRAF Vietnam/Pham Duc Thanh)

Training pruning technique Son tra (Docynia indica) for
Hmong ethic group by AFLI project


Shifting cultivation and mono-cropping of staple food crops such as maize, rice, or cassava have been identified as the main reasons for declining yields due to soil degradation and soil erosion in the Northwest region of Vietnam. This is practically associated with increasing risk of households’ food insecurity.

Development of agroforestry in the region is likely to be a good option for restoring soil fertility, improving ecosystem functions and enhancing the performance of farming systems.

Recognizing the potential of agroforestry, ICRAF Viet Nam, with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) is implementing a comprehensive agroforestry research with local partners in the northwest region.

Overall Objective

To improve the performance of smallholder farming systems in northwestern Viet Nam through agroforestry.

Specific objectives

  • To develop best-practice agroforestry systems for three agro-ecological zones (<600 m.a.s.l., 600-800 m.a.s.l. and >800 m.a.s.l.).
  • To improve the availability of high-quality germplasm to enable the expansion of agroforestry systems.
  • To enhance market access and opportunities for adding value to agroforestry products.
  • To improve extension methods and policy dialogues for successful dissemination of agroforestry systems.

Research Approach

  • Establish agroforestry trials in colaboration with farmers, researcher & extension workers.
  • Establish on-station and on-farm trials on propagation of priority agroforestry species and develop small-scale nurseries.
  • Enhance market access for priority agroforestry products.
  • Identify value-adding opportunities and facilitate links between producers and other market actors.
  • The above findings are spread through farmers’ field schools, cross-site visits, farmers field days and training sessions and consultations.
  • Research findings will be used to inform communication strategies, policy dialogues, extension activities through workshops, media products, extension materials and training.
  • Monitor and evaluate project impacts and overall outcomes.

Expected Outputs Impacts

Scientific impacts

The project will broaden the knowledge on agroforestry. It will bring new insights about how smallholder farmers make decisions on tree planting and adopting new production systems.

Environmental impacts

Recommendations for soil erosion prevention, water and agro-biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration, conservation of indigenous species, minimize landscape fragmentation.

Economic and social impacts

Recommendations for livelihood improvements, i.e. incomes owing to improved market access, product diversification, more effective use of inputs, and risk reduction. value-added activities piloted.


  • World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
  • Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Son La, Dien Bien and Yen Bai provinces (DARD)
  • Tay Bac University (TBU)
  • Forestry Science Centre for Northwest (FSCN)
  • Northern Mountainous Agriculture and Forestry Science Institute (NOMAFSI)

Southeast Asia