African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6863

Full Length Research Paper

Why is adoption of agroforestry stymied in Zambia? Perspectives from the ground-up

Gillian Kabwe*
  • Gillian Kabwe*
  • Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, School of Natural Resources, Copperbelt University, P. O. Box 21692, Jambo Drive, Riverside, Kitwe, Zambia.
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Hugh Bigsby
  • Hugh Bigsby
  • Faculty of Commerce, P.O. Box 85084 Lincoln University, Lincoln 7647, New Zealand.
  • Google Scholar
Ross Cullen
  • Ross Cullen
  • 2Faculty of Commerce, P.O. Box 85084 Lincoln University, Lincoln 7647, New Zealand.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 01 March 2016
  •  Accepted: 25 October 2016
  •  Published: 17 November 2016


Small-scale farmers in Zambia are faced with problems of low crop productivity, scarcity of fuel wood and fodder, and subsequently are generally food insecure. Agroforestry can contribute to food and income security, amelioration of the environment and subsequently, to mitigation of climate change effects. However, despite all the potential of agroforestry technologies and the effort to promote them among smallholder farmers, their adoption and diffusion have remained low and so has their impact. Unless farmers adopt some of these technologies as part of their farming system, the potential benefits of agroforestry to food security, livelihoods and the environment will not be realized. This study investigated trialing and adoption levels of agroforestry in eastern Zambia where agroforestry has been researched and promoted for over two decades. A survey was completed of 388 small scale farmers. Data analysis shows that testing of improved fallows and biomass transfer, though low at 44.9 and 21.4% respectively, was higher than that of domestication of indigenous fruits (4.4%), Fodder banks (3.9%) and Woodlots (3.1%). The study however found that adoption rate of agroforestry among farmers that initially tested is high. Factors that affect adoption include lack of seed, limited land size, method of ploughing, lack of interest and access to extension services. Therefore we advocate for intensified promotion and encouragement support so that more farmers can trial these technologies. With high trialing rates, adoption of agroforestry is likely to increase. The key policy implication of this study is the necessity to embark on educating farmers so that they can trial and subsequently experience the impact of agroforestry technologies. Agroforestry will only make meaningful contribution to improving land productivity and farmer livelihoods if it is adopted.

Key words: Adoption, agroforestry, biomass transfer, improved tree fallows, logistic regression, smallholder farmers, Zambia.