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Southern Africa is experiencing severe degradation of the natural resource base caused by population growth and poverty. Agroforestry technologies that are now available have great potential to improve the livelihoods of many households. The paper describes some of the outcomes of technology development and how this has evolved into a more client-driven process. Regional development trends are assessed and six agroforestry options are presented that offer better livelihood options to smallholder farming families. The article goes on to discuss problems and successes experienced in facilitating the wider use of agroforestry, and highlights lessons concerning partnerships, the timeframe of impact, using farmers as change agents, and addressing the special needs of women. The emphasis is on using agroforestry as a learning tool in building local capacity for developing innovations.

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