The policy environment of vegetable-agroforestry (VAF) system in the Philippines: Are there incentives for smallholders?
Vegetable-Agroforestry (VAF) system is a viable farming system that integrates vegetables in a tree-based system, or vice-versa. The system provides multiple benefits, including provision of micronutrients to the diet of rural communities and enhancement of on-farm biodiversity and environmental sustainability. However, its viability is constrained by various factors, including farmers' inability to invest in the system, inadequate institutional structures to facilitate information flow, and lack of market incentives. Smallholders, who account for over 90% of all farmers and fisherfolk are financially constrained to invest in VAF system compared to large holders, but are also expected to increase their share in the nation's GDP. Policy incentives are thus needed to stimulate smallholder investments in VAF system. Incentives are needed beyond the technical viability of VAF system, and they can generally come as a combination of direct and indirect incentives. To find out whether or not incentives for smallholders to invest in VAF system exist, an intensive review of key national policies related to tree growing and vegetable production was undertaken. Local level policies and perspectives of farmers and policy-makers were also taken into account, to identify policy responses that are needed at the local level.