In Ho Ho sub-watershed in north-central Viet Nam, farmers do not deploy systems that mix trees and annual crops, except in their home gardens. In the eyes of the farmers, it is not possible to cultivate different plants together outside of a home garden. Certainly, they say, trees cannot be planted between annual crops.
These were the initial findings by researchers from the World Agroforestry Centre who interviewed groups of farmers and other people in the district as part of the Climate-Smart, Tree-Based, Co-Investment in Adaptation and Mitigation in Asia (Smart Tree-Invest) project, which is co-funded by the International Fund for Agriculture Development and the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.
During the discussions, farmers cited a number of barriers to agroforestry systems that grow trees and annual crops together: land size, flooding, lack of knowledge, scarcity of seedlings and a dearth of markets for tree products. These obstacles were then further discussed with other key people, such as commune and village leaders and officers of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, to explore potential solutions. The researchers, together with the farmers and others, developed options for overcoming the obstacles. Trees have been proven to increase farm resilience to climate extremes while also improving livelihoods and enhancing environmental services.