Climate-friendly Agroforestry – Cocoa Farming in the Ivory Coast

Project type: Land Use and Forestry

Project location: Ivory Coast, Soubré Region

Project status: In planning, exclusive

Annual CO₂ reduction: 17’836 t CO2 (on average per year, for 10 years)

Thanks to this long-term climate protection project off the M-climate fund, cocoa production is more sustainable and simultaneously the income of cocoa farmers is improved. Specifically, the resilience of the cultivation systems to climate changes and disease is increased by paying the farmers to plant shade trees, which store carbon dioxide, in their cocoa plantations.

Chocolat Frey has been buying its cocoa from 516 small farmers of the Necaayo Cocao Cooperative in the Ivory Coast since 2012. The plantations and thereby the existence of cocoa-farming families are jeopardised by climate change, nutrient-poor soil, low cocoa prices, a virus (cocoa swollen shoot virus), and the national ban on growing new cocoa plants. The low income resulting from all of this is forcing the families to create new cultivation areas thereby making the constantly growing cocoa industry partially responsible for the clearance of the forests in the Ivory Coast. 

Income increase and protection of the forests and the climate thanks to sustainable cultivation methods 

This project is attempting to counteract this problem by planting new shade trees. By increasing the tree density to 25 to 50 trees per hectare, 2500 hectares of existing cocoa plantations will be reforested with different local varieties of wood, legumes and fruit. In parallel to this, the 516 small farmers are being trained in the areas of land use and forest management. In this way, the income of the cocoa plantations can be guaranteed in the long term, and additional sources of income can be created by selling the agroforestry products of the planted trees (avocado, for example). 

I am taking part in this project in order to not be exclusively dependent on cocoa.

Soumaila Kobenanan, farmer in Allakro, Ivory Coast


Furthermore, the resilience of the plants to climatic changes and diseases is increased and the soil quality increased by greater biodiversity. Through the resulting lower need for fertilizers and income from the CO₂ sequestration of the trees, the monthly income of the farmers increases, which means they are no longer reliant on deforestation of additional forest areas.

Implementation on-site and use of climate financing money

The project is being implemented on-site by the Necaayo Cocoa Cooperative with support from the non-profit organisation Taking Root. On the one hand, the money that is generated by the sale of CO₂ certificates is paid to the small farmers for this climate service, and on the other hand it is used to cover the personnel costs and capacity development of the Necaayo Cocoa Cooperative.

Situation without project

Unreliable cocoa production due to climate change and low prices

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