Agroforestry extension [Costa Rica]

approaches_2391 - Costa Rica

Completeness: 89%

1. Informação geral

1.2 Detalhes do contato das pessoas capacitadas e instituições envolvidas na avaliação e documentação da abordagem.


SLM specialist:
Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
Book project: where the land is greener - Case Studies and Analysis of Soil and Water Conservation Initiatives Worldwide (where the land is greener)

1.3 Condições em relação ao uso da informação documentada através de WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


1.4 Referência ao(s) questionário(s) sobre tecnologias da gestão sustentável da terra

Tree windbreaks within irrigated agriculture in Central Asia

Tree windbreaks within irrigated agriculture in Central Asia [Kyrgyzstan]

Windbreaks of poplar trees (Populus nigra pyramidalis) are a major agroforestry system in irrigated agriculture across Central Asia. Such windbreaks reduce the overall water consumption of irrigated agriculture by 10-20% and increase farm income by 10-15%.

  • Compilador/a: Niels Thevs
Shade-grown coffee

Shade-grown coffee [Costa Rica]

An agroforestry system which combines coffee with shade trees - including fruit, timber and leguminous species - in a systematic fashion.

  • Compilador/a: Olman Quiros Madrigal

2. Descrição da abordagem de gestão sustentável da terra

2.1 Descrição curta da abordagem

Participatory extension of agroforestry systems, especially of shadegrown coffee, to promote sustainable and productive use of natural resources among small and medium scale farmers.

2.2 Descrição detalhada da abordagem

Descrição detalhada da abordagem:

Aims / objectives: The Programme for Agroforestry Development (PRODAF) pioneered a new type of agroforestry extension in Costa Rica between 1987 and 1994. PRODAF was positioned under two national ministries (the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock - MAG and the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mines - MINAE) and was supported by GTZ (German Technical Cooperation). Agroforestry extension underpinned the following sectors: environmental education, promotion of training and technical assistance in agriculture and forestry, development of programmes for afforestation and agroforestry systems, and promotion/support of farmers' organisations. The approach was based on land users' participation at all stages. The main purpose of the agroforestry extension approach was the development and promotion of sustainable production systems, which were adapted to the local biophysical and socio-economic conditions. This was to enable environmentally friendly production on steep slopes, while at the same time generating sufficient income for small and medium scale farmers in marginal areas of the Acosta-Puriscal region. In this case study, shade-grown coffee was identified to be a system that fulfilled these conditions. Another important objective was the involvement of all family members - including the younger generation.

Role of stakeholders: In the first years PRODAF operated with a top-down development approach implementing technologies, designed by specialists, without consultation of land users. Local needs and experiences were not considered: as a result both adoption of shade-grown coffee was low, and maintenance was poor, despite initial incentives. The change to a participatory, bottom-up approach, with land users being represented in the steering committee (which during this period was absolutely innovative) increased acceptance among the majority of farmers towards shade-grown coffee. Participation of land users during planning and implementation was rewarded with provision of tools, seeds, fertilizer and biocides (fully financed or subsidised). The technology was evaluated on the test plots within existing coffee plantations together with the land users. PRODAF's legacy has been an institutional change in Government policy towards extension.

2.3 Fotos da abordagem

2.5 País/região/locais onde a abordagem foi aplicada


Costa Rica

Region/ State/ Province:

San José/Río Parrita

2.6 Datas de início e término da abordagem

Indique o ano de início:


Ano de término (caso a abordagem não seja mais aplicada):


2.7 Tipo de abordagem

  • Baseado em projeto/programa

2.8 Principais metas/objetivos da abordagem

Promotion of appropriate management of natural resources and adoption of the shade-grown coffee agroforestry system - café arbolado - among small and medium scale farmers.

The SLM Approach addressed the following problems: - various different approaches of forest and agricultural technicians regarding choice and implementation of the technology, - which needed harmonising, - lack of incentives for farmers to adopt technology, - lack of participatory technology development

2.9 Condição que propiciam ou inibem a implementação de tecnologia/tecnologias aplicada(s) segundo a abordagem

Disponibilidade/acesso a recursos e serviços financeiros
  • Inibitivo

Lack of credit for SWC implementation.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Credit has been made available through the 'productive re-conversion programme' and other credit systems for organic/conservation production, eg Fideicomiso (see under credit).

Quadro institucional
  • Inibitivo

Lack of collaboration and coordination between different institutions.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Innovative incorporation of land users in decision making, which in the meantime has become a common approach.

Quadro jurídico (posse de terra, direitos de uso da terra e da água)
  • Propício

The existing land ownership, land use rights / water rights moderately helped the approach implementation: Land fragmentation leads to very small areas per household. This hinders implementation of SWC activities. Land users do not have the resources to invest in initial inputs and activities.

  • Inibitivo

Subdivision of land hinders adoption of SWC measures.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Not directly treated by the approach. Diverse incentive mechanisms have to be identified to promote SWC activities on small areas.

Conhecimento sobre gestão sustentável da terra, acesso a suporte técnico
  • Inibitivo

Lack of technical knowledge, lack of research activities/trials with SWC technologies.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Promotion of alternative production systems and SWC measures had great impact. Technology was tested on-farm. PRODAF did not focus on research activities.

3. Participação e papel das partes interessadas envolvidas

3.1 Partes interessadas envolvidas na abordagem e seus papéis

  • Usuários de terra/comunidades locais

Mainly men participated: women are not usually expected to carry out field activities for cultural reasons. The coffee harvest is the only activity where men and women work together in the field.

  • Especialistas em gestão sustentável da terra/consultor agrícola
  • Governo nacional (planejadores, responsáveis pelas decisões)
3.2 Envolvimento do usuários de terra/comunidades locais nas diferentes fases da abordagem
Envolvimento do usuários de terra/comunidades locais Especifique quem estava envolvido e descreva as atividades
Iniciação/motivação Participativo rapid/participatory rural appraisal; good participation basically through participative rural appraisal
Planejamento Participativo workshops/seminars; incentives are provided for participating land users
Implementação Participativo responsibility for major steps; incentives are provided for participating land users
Monitoramento/avaliação Participativo workshop/seminars, interviews/questionnaires;
Research Participativo on-farm

3.3 Fluxograma (se disponível)


Organisational set-up of PRODAF (Programme for Agroforestry Development)

3.4 Decisão sobre a seleção de tecnologia/tecnologias

Especifique quem decidiu sobre a seleção de tecnologia/tecnologias a serem implementadas:
  • Principalmente usuários da terra, após consulta com usuários da terra

Decisions on the method of implementing the SLM Technology were made by mainly by SLM specialists with consultation of land users

4. Suporte técnico, reforço das capacidades e gestão do conhecimento

4.1 Reforço das capacidades/formação

Foi oferecida formação aos usuários da terra/outras partes interessadas?


Tipo de formação:
  • Agricultor para agricultor
  • Áreas de demonstração
  • Reuniões públicas
Tipo de formação:
  • trips to projects in, field days, workshops
Assuntos abordados:

The following subjects were treated: coffee agroforestry system, fruit trees and soil conservation, silvo-pastoralism, soil conservation in general. Beside knowledge transfer, awareness raising and motivation were important aims of training.

4.2 Serviço de consultoria

Os usuários de terra têm acesso a um serviço de consultoria?


Especifique se foi oferecido serviço de consultoria:
  • nas áreas dos usuários da terra

Name of method used for advisory service: Extension carried out through extension workers was the key element of the overall approach; Key elements: the adequacy of extension for continuation was very good, Different methods were used: on-farm technical assistance; farmer-tofarmer knowledge exchange; demonstration areas and workshops.

4.3 Fortalecimento da instituição (desenvolvimento organizacional)

As instituições foram fortalecidas ou estabelecidas através da abordagem?
  • Sim, pouco
Especifique o tipo de apoio:
  • Financeiro
  • Reforço das capacidades/formação
  • Equipamento

4.4 Monitoramento e avaliação

Monitoramento e avaliação são partes da abordagem?



Bio-physical aspects were ad hoc monitored by 0 through measurements; indicators: yields
Socio-cultural aspects were regular monitored by 0 through observations; indicators: family size
Economic / production aspects were regular monitored by 0 through measurements; indicators: yields and production market
No. of land users involved aspects were regular monitored by 0 through measurements; indicators: land users involved in organisation
There were many changes in the Approach as a result of monitoring and evaluation: The approach changed completely after evaluation of the first phase, from an initial top down methodology with low technology adoption by land users, to a more participative approach heeding land users' opinions and needs, and improving communication between technicians and land users. This was helped by the development of educational materials.

4.5 Pesquisa

A pesquisa foi parte da abordagem?


Especifique os tópicos:
  • Ecologia
  • Tecnologia
Dê mais detalhes e indique quem realizou a pesquisa:

Results were rather meagre, and the effect on the approach was thus moderate. Previous to PRODAF there was a research project conducted by CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Centre) in the approach area, but results were not broadly disseminated.

Research was carried out on-farm

5. Financiamento e apoio material externo

5.1 Orçamento anual para o componente de gestão sustentável da terra da abordagem

Comentários (p. ex. principais fontes de recursos/principais doadores):

Approach costs were met by the following donors: government (national - MAG, MINAE): 50.0%; international non-government (GTZ): 50.0%

5.2 Apoio financeiro/material concedido aos usuários da terra

Os usuários da terra receberam apoio financeiro/material para a implementação de tecnologia/tecnologias?


5.3 Subsídios para entradas específicas (incluindo mão-de-obra)

  • Equipamento
Especifique quais entradas foram subsidiadas Em que medida Especifique os subsídios
Ferramentas Parcialmente financiado hand tools
  • Agrícola
Especifique quais entradas foram subsidiadas Em que medida Especifique os subsídios
Fertilizantes Parcialmente financiado
seedlings Totalmente financiado
Se a mão-de-obra pelos usuários da terra foi uma entrada substancial, isso foi:
  • Voluntário

5.4 Crédito

Foi concedido crédito segundo a abordagem para atividades de gestão sustentável da terra?


Especifique as condições (taxa de juros, reembolso, etc):

Repayment conditions: Credit was provided through ‘productive re-conversion programme’ to support small-scale organic production and soil conservation. After PRODAF a larger (national) credit programme to promote agroforestry systems was launched, under MAG and National Production Council. Fideicomiso is another national financing programme based on a contract between a bank and development institutions. .

Interest was lower than market rate.

6. Análise de impactos e declarações finais

6.1 Impactos da abordagem

A abordagem auxiliou os usuários da terra a implementar e manter as tecnologias de gestão sustentável da terra?
  • Não
  • Sim, pouco
  • Sim, moderadamente
  • Sim, significativamente

There was substantial improvement of soil and water management through application of the agroforestry systems.

Did other land users / projects adopt the Approach?
  • Não
  • Sim, pouco
  • Sim, moderadamente
  • Sim, significativamente

Some projects in the region as well as in other parts of the country adopted the approach. Various SWC extension programmes have adopted the extension methods promoted by PRODAF, based on the principles of land users participation. In the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock it has been taken as a basic principle in the National Programme of Agricultural Extension.

6.3 Atividades de sustentabilidade de abordagem

Os usuários da terra podem manter o que foi implementado através da abordagem (sem apoio externo)?
  • Incerto
Caso negativo ou incerto, especifique e comente:

While the approach has been institutionalised and a national credit programme set up promoting shade-grown coffee and silvo-pastoral systems, continuation of field production activities is uncertain. Farmers’ motivation to apply technologies was raised with the Environmental Education Programme, but if market prices for coffee decrease /show variability, farmers lose the motivation to maintain i

6.4 Pontos fortes/vantagens da abordagem

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Institutionalisation of the basic participatory extension approach within the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.
Initial top-down approach replaced by participation with land users (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Continue to spread information about the effectiveness of this change in attitude, and the need for responsiveness in projects and programmes.)
Training of land users (knowledge of soil degradation processes and soil and water conservation) (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Collaboration with farmers organisations, NGOs and agricultural extension services. Better dissemination of research results.)
Environmental education in schools (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Continue support through the Ministry of Education.)

6.5 Pontos fracos, desvantagens da tecnologia e formas de superá-los

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
No economic security guaranteed in the long term because of price fluctuations Provide a system of incentives, eg lower taxes for those who apply SWC technologies.

7. Referências e links

7.1 Métodos/fontes de informação

  • field visits, field surveys
  • interviews with land users

7.2 Referências às publicações disponíveis

Title, author, year, ISBN:

PRODAF (1992) Informe de evaluación de las parcelas agroforestales establecidas por PRODAF, Periodo 88-91, Puriscal,Quiros O (2000) Nachhaltigkeit von landwirtschaftlichen Produktionsverfahren in bäuerlichen Familienbetrieben in Costa Rica.

Available from where? Costs?

Vauk-Kiel KG: series of: Sozialökonimische Schriften zur Ruralen Entwicklung, Vol. 20

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