This paper reviews the experience of contract farming and outgrower schemes for five agricultural tree crops: cocoa, rubber, palm oil, coffee and tea. The primary objective of the paper is to draw lessons from this experience to inform similar schemes with tree crops. The paper asks two main questions: how does contract farming work and who benefits? The answers to these questions are based on a twenty-day review of the literature. They are therefore necessarily partial and intended to form the basis for further research.