Getting Started in Agroforestry: Part 5, Production System

Designing an agroforestry production system to fit your goals can be an excercise in frustration.

Firstly, agroforestry can become complex because of the large number of moving parts. Your focus should therefore, be to design for outcomes, not unnecessary complexity.

Secondly, agroforestry is plagued by a word-storm of terminology. This can leave you feeling great if you are trying to build up your Scrabble vocabulary. But, otherwise it just creates unneccesary confusion for newcomers.

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Getting Started in Agroforestry: Part 4, Production Setting

What can I grow here? I field inquiries related to the agroforestry production setting, more than any other. And, without doubt, if you can’t grow it you can’t sell it.

A more refined approach however, should be to ask, “What can I grow that will sell?” And, “What can I grow within my financial capacity?”.

With those questions answered first, you should have a short-list of crops or livestock of interest. More homework is now in order. Time to explore if you have a suitable growing environment, and the necessary infrastucture, equipment and other resources in place. You will also need to start the process of investigating your production system at the same time.

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Getting Started in Agroforestry: Part 3, Finance

Options for agroforestry finance don’t differ greatly from those for other agricultural ventures. But, after you select a target market and outline a marketing strategy, finance is your next most important consideration. And you should have a financial plan in mind before making production decisions.

If you are one of those lucky few for which money is no object, this article is not for you. For the rest of us, money always has some importance in our decisions, and you should read on.

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Getting Started in Agroforestry: Part 2, Markets

Agroforestry markets and marketing is one of the five key areas you should explore before establishing a new venture. After setting your production and conservation goals, your next planning step should focus on markets.

Where and how you sell the ‘fruits’ of your labour is ultimately the most important factor in the success of agroforestry or any agricultural endeavor. Producing the perfect berry crop, or veneer log, or experience, can bring satisfaction in, and of, itself. But if you can’t sell what you produce, you will fail.

And you can’t eat satisfaction, nor make a mortgage payment with it.

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Getting Started in Agroforestry: Part 1

Failing to plan, is planning to fail

Agroforestry isn’t rocket science. It can be far more complicated than that. Planning for an agroforestry venture means keeping abreast of many moving parts. Each which may come with its own set of risks and uncertainties.

All of which can leave new producers or even seasoned veterans pondering where to start.

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