Agroforestry is the land management system that combines the production of crops and forest crops and other resources for socio-economic values including productivity and ecological stability of a community.
Under this system, coffee can thrive under the trees (shade trees), while shade trees provide leaf litter subsequently degrades into nutrients in the soil, thus coffee planted in the Agroforestry system is an environment-friendly or chemical-free product. It preserves the biodiversity of the community and provides habitats to wildlife. Biodiversity makes the soil and environment stable and that coffee grows robustly which in return gives back economic growth to every coffee farmer.
Agroforestry makes it possible for farmers to care for the environment through reforestation efforts and at the same time earn income from agricultural products (such as coffee) that grow within the forests.
In the process, agroforestry creates a healthy environment. By planting coffee trees alongside other trees that can provide a canopy that is needed by coffee trees, it creates a green environment that is sustainable both for the farmers and nature itself.
CGN usually recommends planting Calliandra and Alnus as shade trees. Crops and forest crops planted with coffee trees on agroforestry farms depends on the environment, farmers' demands and markets.
In the agroforestry plantations of the Cordillera region, along with Arabica coffee trees, the following crops and fruit trees have been planted;
-Ginger -Turmeric -Sweet Potato(Camote) -Taro (Gabi) -Sayote (Chayote) -Squash -Cassava -Sweet peace -Kidney beans -Tiger Grass -Citrus(lemon, orange, pomelo, etc) -Banana -Guava -Pineapple -Passion Fruit -Jack fruit
Coffee has served a big part of the Cordilleran culture since its introduction. It was said that during the Spanish colonization in the Philippines, the Spaniards went up the mountains of Cordillera looking for gold. They established routes from the lowlands and worked on foot trails on mountainsides (now called the Spanish trails). As they were working the trails, they started creating their small community and started planting some coffee trees in their backyards. Most coffee growers started with backyard coffee farming. Coffee trees are somewhat a staple part of backyard plants until they saw the potential for the industry for it. Today, the Local Government Unit and Non-Government Organizations empower these farmers to further develop their locally grown coffee trees for small community organic farmers to have a sustainable income.