Mixed farming and agroforestry systems: A systematic review on value chain implications

Low, G.; Dalhaus, T.P.F.; Meuwissen, M.P.M.


CONTEXT: Mixed farming and agroforestry systems (MiFAS) are widely proposed to deal with ecological, economic, and social challenges that are associated with specialised farming systems. However, little is known about how MiFAS are integrated in food value chains and how value creation in MiFAS is rewarded by value chain actors.
OBJECTIVE: We review the broad literature on MiFAS (80 papers) with a particular focus on implications for food value chains.
METHODS: We use thematic analysis to code existing evidence and categorise these codes into four major themes: MiFAS value creation, Impacts of the farming environment on value creation, Ecosystem service valuation, and Supply & value chain integration. From here, we produce meta-narratives to summarise the literature within each theme. In a second step, we use these literature insights to develop possible value chain configurations that operationalise MiFAS in food value chains.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: We find that: a) integrating farming enterprises tends to improve yields and land-use efficiency and can reduce variable costs; b) MiFAS seem to face significant challenges with respect to fixed costs, such as of capital investments, and of labour; c) high opportunity costs associated with MiFAS can be a drawback for farms seeking to become more integrated as limited knowledge and the time to establish profitable MiFAS can deter adoption; d) sources of value creation within MiFAS stem from its ability to reduce variable
costs as well as maintain or raise inputs, primarily by improving the efficiency of resources such as nutrients and