Scaling Agroforestry in Indonesia

Scaling Agroforestry in Indonesia

Indonesia - 26 November, 2023

In collaboration with the Embassy of the Netherlands, Tropenbos Indonesia (TI) and Tropenbos International (TBI) organized a workshop entitled “Scaling Agroforestry in Indonesia” in Jakarta, on 23rd November 2023. The workshop was organized in hybrid mode with more than 100 participants attending offline and online. They come from various backgrounds such as from the government agencies, NGOs/CSOs, private sector, and university and research organizations. Giving the opening speech was Joost van Uum, the Agriculture Counsellor of the Embassy of the Netherlands, Edi Purwanto, the Director of Tropenbos Indonesia and Joost van Montfort, the Director of Tropenbos International, while the keynote speech was given by the Director General of Social Forestry and Environmental Partnership (PSKL) Ministry of Environment and Forestry of Indonesia, Bambang Supriyanto.

The workshop has a goal to introduce, validate, and fine-tune the results of the agroforestry study commissioned by the Netherlands Embassy done recently by Tropenbos International and Tropenbos Indonesia. In the first session, Hery Santoso and Jinke van Dam represented researchers of the study presented results of the study, while Ai Farida gave presentation on a success story in agroforestry practice from Gula Gula project by CO2Operate and Rimbo Pangan Lestari (RPL). In the second session, Yayang Vionita from Verstegen and Marcha Adiwara from Forestwise presented the importance of collaboration and support from parties to increase the added value of agroforestry products which can provide welfare for the community and encourage people to protect forest. Meanwhile, presentation on the role of community practice was given by Meine van Noordwijk of Wageningen University. In between both sessions, participants attended group discussions where they could provide input and garnered some thoughts to enrich the study.


In his opening remarks, Director of Tropenbos Indonesia, Edi Purwanto stated that the study aims to explore and identify agroforestry upscaling challenges that hinder the adoption and scaling of agroforestry in Indonesia. The study report presents the identification of scaling up and solution pathways including enhancement of policies and governance, mobilizing business and markets, creating awareness and outreach, and capacity building. “Through this workshop, we aim to better integrate and connect all actors towards agroforestry improvements in knowledge, governance, market mobilization, regulation implementation and access to finance,” he said.

The involvement of stakeholders in promoting agroforestry practices is crucial in the scaling of agroforestry. Within the value chain, and through the enabling environment, a range of stakeholders have their own role to play. There have been some promising ‘flagship’ initiatives that have successfully increased the economic viability of sustainable agroforestry despite the remaining slow scaling practices. Yayang of Verstegen said, started in 2018 with only 1 ha of pepper agroforestry, it has scaled up to 30 farmers and target to more than 200 farmers in 2025. Support given to farmers include training, planting materials, and a link to financial support such as from Rabobank. The scale efforts, however, still face challenges such as high cost of investment in purchasing materials, complex system labour intensive, and uncertainty of incomes.


Another successful flagship initiative comes from Forestwise in Sintang, West Kalimantan. According to Marcha, as social environmental company, Forestwise creates forest values to empower local community and preserve the remaining forests. In the last years, biodiversity in Borneo disappears due to illegal logging, mining, and monoculture farming. “Forest is the community’s supermarket, we need to empower local community and improve the forest standing,” she said. Encouraging community to preserve forests can be done by creating values. Forestwise buys Illipe nuts collected from forest by the communities in competitive price, processing it to become butter, and sell it to big companies. With the significant family income, villagers willingly help the company to protect Illipe and securing forest areas. The company is now inviting more partners to work together since the investment in this area is not small.

This event is expected to become the first step towards strengthened collaboration and knowledge exchanges between stakeholders of agroforestry including potential future cooperation such as mentioned by Verstegen and Forestwise. Those can be achieved by identifying the needs in collaborative learning and knowledge to accelerate scaling and replication of flagship elements and to work collectively on further development and promotion of agroforestry in Indonesia. “It’s often that there is no link between stakeholders whereas they need to collaborate, for improvement of their products’ market, and to make agroforestry more attractive and inclusive including in the policy dialogue,” said Edi.


Agroforestry has been practiced for centuries in Indonesia and ranges from simple intercropping to complex integrated systems. Agroforestry practices offer a myriad of benefits, such as livelihood resilience, food security, carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation. Despite the benefits and existing (policy) support for agroforestry, many agroforestry practices in Indonesia remain underdeveloped, limitedly spread, and even abandoned in favour of monoculture land uses, which is considered more profitable. Collaborative effort is in need to put forward scaling agroforestry and to promote agroforestry more into practice.