Homegarden is one form of traditional agroforestry systems and involving deliberate management of multipurpose trees and shrubs in close association with annual and perennial agricultural crops and livestock within the compounds of individual houses managed by family labor. The presence of trees in the homegarden agroforestry system gives multiple services both in tree products (timber, firewood, food, and fodder) and improving ecosystems and nutrient cycle through litter fall and decomposition. Homegardens are characterized by high species diversity and usually 3-4 vertical canopy strata tree layers; upper story (herbaceous layer near the ground) and intermediate layers in between with the main purpose of subsistence production and sale for cash income. The main objective of this paper is to highlight the multiple roles of a homegarden agroforestry system for ensuring and improving the food security of smallholder farmers' in Ethiopia. The reason for the homegarden agroforestry system includes; a potential for climate change adaptation and mitigation, more diversity of species and their multifunctional roles, utilization efficiency, productivity, and social value. The homegardens practice serves critical functions in fulfilling household needs ranging from food provision and food security to supplementing the family nutritional status, ensuring primary healthcare and as income source. It plays an important role in ensuring food security by supplying varied tree products (fruit) throughout the seasons. Identify appropriate intervention strategies for the introduction and expansion of the homegarden to other crop producing areas; improving the production, processing, handling, and marketing of products from homegarden agroforestry systems, improving nutrition and health of households through fruit tree based homegarden agroforestry systems in the cereal dominated production system will need further consideration and integration of homegarden agroforestry systems.
Keywords: Agroforestry, Food, Homegarden, Role of home garden, Security