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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Fruit Tree-Based Agroforestry Systems for Smallholder Farmers in Northwest Vietnam-A Quantitative and Qualitative Assessment

Do, Van Hung; La, Nguyen; Mulia, Rachmat; Bergkvist, Goran; Dahlin, A. Sigrun; Nguyen, Van Thach; Pham, Huu Thuong; Oborn, Ingrid


Rapid expansion of unsustainable farming practices in upland areas of Southeast Asia threatens food security and the environment. This study assessed alternative agroforestry systems for sustainable land management and livelihood improvement in northwest Vietnam. The performance of fruit tree-based agroforestry was compared with that of sole cropping, and farmers' perspectives on agroforestry were documented. After seven years, longan (Dimocarpus longan Lour.)-maize-forage grass and son tra (Docynia indica (Wall.) Decne)-forage grass systems had generated 2.4- and 3.5-fold higher average annual income than sole maize and sole son tra, respectively. Sole longan gave no net profit, due to high investment costs. After some years, competition developed between the crop, grass, and tree components, e.g., for nitrogen, and the farmers interviewed reported a need to adapt management practices to optimise spacing and pruning. They also reported that agroforestry enhanced ecosystem services by controlling surface runoff and erosion, increasing soil fertility and improving resilience to extreme weather. Thus, agroforestry practices with fruit trees can be more profitable than sole-crop cultivation within a few years. Integration of seasonal and fast-growing perennial plants (e.g., grass) is essential to ensure quick returns. Wider adoption needs initial incentives or loans, knowledge exchange, and market links.


fruit tree-based agroforestry; economic benefits; ecosystem services; farmer perspectives; resource competition; systems improvement; uptake and expansion

Published in

2020, volume: 9, number: 11, article number: 451
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Do, Van Hung
World Agroforestry (ICRAF)
La, Nguyen
World Agroforestry (ICRAF)
Rachmat, Mulia
World Agroforestry (ICRAF)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Production Ecology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment
Nguyen, Van Thach
World Agroforestry (ICRAF)
Pham, Huu Thuong
World Agroforestry (ICRAF)
World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Production Ecology

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG2 Zero hunger
SDG12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science

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