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Sweet Sustainability: Cocoa Agroforestry Advantages

May 18 @ 9:00 am - May 20 @ 12:45 pm EDT

This three-day conference brought together 60+ leaders in science, industry, advocacy, and policy
to break down the science behind cocoa production practices that benefit forests and farmers.
Review the Conference Report.
Download the full detailed agenda here.
View bios of our speakers here.
Scroll down for Cocoa Agroforestry Decision-making Tools.

 Cocoa Agroforestry Library

Announcing the launch of the Cocoa Agroforestry Library! This new tool from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center’s Bird Friendly Program and Mighty Earth brings together all available scientific literature on cocoa agroforestry to support sustainable cocoa implementation and research.

DAY 1:

Opening session-Cocoa agroforestry and the e-library: why they matter for sustainability
Speakers: Dennis Garrity & Etelle Higonnet
Cocoa agroforestry & the environment: An introduction to the science
Speakers: Carolina Mejía & Eric Penot

Cocoa Agroforestry & Biodiversity | This panel explored how the management and structure of cocoa agroforests affect plants and animals within the biodiversity hotspots that overlap most cocoa-producing regions globally. The discussion included how shade tree management, connectivity with forest patches, and general landscape configuration impact the value of agroforests for different groups of species, including threatened and endangered species.
Moderator: Howard Shapiro | Speakers: Ruth Bennett, Christian Cilas, Hervé Bisseleua & Petra Heid 

Cocoa Agroforestry & Carbon Sequestration | Cocoa agroforests may contribute to climate change mitigation and carbon-neutral supply chains by sequestering above and below ground carbon. This panel explored how cocoa agroforests sequester carbon and how this important ecosystem service can be leveraged with company shareholders and both national and international carbon commitments.
Moderator: Andrew Nobrega | Speakers: Eduardo Somarriba, Mireille Feudijio, Jeff King & Jean Paul Aka

Cocoa Agroforestry & Pollination | Cocoa pollination may occur by hundreds of different insect species, including midges in the family Ceratopogonidae. Agroforestry conditions impact the presence of both insect pollinators and insects that inhibit pollination. As cocoa yields are directly related to pollination rates, this panel explored how agroforestry management can facilitate successful pollination
Moderator: Abdulahi Aliyu | Speakers: Clare Stirling, Manuel Toledo-Hernández, Teja Tscharntke, & Fakhrusy Zakariyya

Cocoa Agroforestry & Climate Resiliency | Climate change models predict that much of the current cocoa belt will become unsuitable for cocoa production over the coming decades. Agroforestry systems will likely respond differently to drought stress and temperature stress than cocoa monocultures. This panel explored the current evidence and the many unknowns about the role agroforestry systems play in climate-resilient cocoa production.
Moderator: Erik Hoffner | Speakers: Richard Asare, Thomas Wanger, Johanna Jacobi & Ywe Franken


DAY 2:

Opening session: Implementing and Financing Productive Cocoa Agroforestry
Speaker: Jack Steijn

Yields in Cocoa Agroforestry | Potential tradeoffs between cocoa production and agroforestry cover have limited industry adoption of agroforestry systems in the past. However, evidence suggests canopy cover of 30-40% either optimizes or negligibly impacts cocoa yields in many regions, although careful configuration of shade trees may be required to achieve maximum yield benefits. Decoupling the shade cover-yield relationship from the many other factors that impact yields across the cocoa belt is an ongoing challenge. This panel discussed how agroforestry systems can be designed to maximize yields while retaining important services to farmers and the environment.
Moderator: Viwanou Gnassaounou | Speakers: Angela Tejada Chavez, Deborah Faria, Elsa Sanial & Martjin ten Hoopen

Cocoa agroforestry Promotion by/for/with Countries | Cocoa priorities at the national level affect the extension recommendations given to farmers. In the past, extension services have driven shade levels below optimal levels for cocoa production in some regions with negative sustainability implications. Yet many countries have now adopted zero-deforestation commitments and enforcement mechanisms for cocoa production. Building off the success of zero-deforestation commitments, this panel explored how countries can also incorporate agroforestry commitments into their cocoa production strategies.
Moderator: Wendy Arenas | Speakers: Musa Abu Juam, Raúl Meléndez Valle & Beate Weiskopf

Financing Cocoa Agroforestry | Transitioning from cocoa monoculture to agroforestry requires investment, especially so that implementation costs do not fall on the farmers. This panel explored diverse funding opportunities and investment strategies for agroforestry implementation at the country or company level.
Moderator: Jean Paul Aka | Speakers: Romuald Vaudry, Peter Umunay, Oliver Hanke, Regis Meritan & Marjolaine Chaintreau

Q&A and Closing Remarks
Speaker: Jack Steijn

DAY 3:

Opening session: Making Cocoa Agroforestry Work for Farmers & Communities
Speakers: Amourlaye Toure & Eduardo Somarriba

Cocoa Agroforestry & Food Security/Income Diversification | Well-planned agroforestry systems can diversify the income and food security of farmers, providing an important buffer against fluctuations in production and markets.  This panel highlighted how agroforestry systems can be designed jointly with farmers to meet their food and income needs. The panel further discussed how local adoption and retention of agroforestry depends in large part on the value farmers perceive and receive from these systems.
Moderator: Antoine Fountain | Speakers: Bashiratu Kamal, Antoine Ambert, Denis Sonwa, Emma Harbour, & Nana Kwesi Benieh II

Cocoa Agroforestry & Disease/Pest Control | Many of the diseases and pests that plague cocoa production respond to temperature and humidity around the cocoa trees, which can be managed with agroforestry practices. Furthermore, agroforestry systems can support bird, bat, and insect predators of cocoa pests, such as cocoa and cocoa pod borer. This panel explored how cocoa agroforestry management impacts diseases and pests.
Moderator: Ruth Maclean | Speakers: Christian Andres, Pomasi Ismaeli, Gricha Safarian, Luke Powell, & Leticia Yankey

Participant Polling
Moderator: Suzanne Ngo-Eyok

Closing Session: The Future of Cocoa Agroforestry
Moderator: Gerome Tokpa | Keynote Speakers: Pablo Perversi, Richard Asare & Michel Arrion

Closing Remarks from the Organizers
Etelle Higonnet

This event is hosted by Smithsonian Conservation Commons, Mighty Earth, Earthworm Foundation, National Wildlife Federation, CIRAD, and PUR Projet.




National Wildlife Federation’s work on tropical forest conservation is funded in part by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD). We are required under 22 U.S.C. § 614 to disclose that this material is distributed under a grant from NORAD. Additional information is available from the FARA Unit at the US Department of Justice. 


Cocoa Agroforestry Decision-making Tools

Want more information about how to advance your cocoa agroforestry work? We’ve compiled a selection of decision support tools for cocoa agroforestry below. If you have resources you want to share, please email WLS@si.edu.

Cocoa Agroforestry e-Library. Created by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and Mighty Earth.

Shade Motion is a web tool created by Eduardo Somarriba to simulate shade patterns of trees and their interactions with cocoa or coffee.

CREMA is a model for farmers and extension agents on cocoa rehabilitation with a history of successful farmer adoption in Ghana. Several training manuals exist.

CSC implementer APP is a new mobile app that brings climate-smart cocoa to farmers in a way that takes into consideration their resource endowment, climate impact zones and suggests tailor-made training to farmers. This App is new and not yet on Google Play Store since we are trying to get a sponsor. Contact Richard Asare at R.Asare@cgiar.org for more information.

The Canopy Cover Calculator (CanOvaLator) is an Android-based mobile app that estimates the canopy cover of shade trees in cocoa to help farmers obtain the optimum shade cover for cocoa yield improvement.

Climate Smart Cocoa Guide is a website designed to assess risk and build climate-smart agroforestry systems. Designed by CIAT and Rainforest Alliance. Appropriate for anyone working with smallholder farmers.

In-field Soil Testing Guide from Pur Projet supports farmers conducting in-field soil tests and helps them understand the results.


May 18 @ 9:00 am EDT
May 20 @ 12:45 pm EDT
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