Cocoa plant good for forest
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CTA. 2003. Cocoa plant good for forest. Spore 104. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47892
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore104.pdf
It has long been thought that cocoa plants have had a damaging effect on dense rain forests, but now it seems that planting them can help reforestation.
It has long been thought that cocoa plants have had a damaging effect on dense rain forests, but now it seems that planting them can help reforestation. According to research conducted in southern Cameroon by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), local farmers have a net positive impact on the environment whilst managing to grow food and cash crops. They grow their cocoa in an area of great biodiversity which is near the forest and contains a lot of fruit trees, medicinal barks and wood for carving. Furthermore, the thousands of hectares that have been laid bare by slash-and-burn are now put to use in a fallow system for growing cassava, groundnuts, maize and more. But demand for food is still on the up, and the farmers find themselves having to make inroads into the forest. The researchers from IITA have been working with the farmers to intensify their work in the cultivated areas, and to convert fallow areas into permanent cropland. They are searching for the best way to grow cocoa trees in the forest, whilst growing annual crops to provide food and a cash income for the first few years, waiting for the cocoa trees to mature. The overall approach has several advantages: crops are being diversified, soils are being better protected, greenhouse gas emissions are being cut back and, since demand for cocoa is rising again, the basis is being laid for sustainable incomes. The research is supported by two consortia, one for Alternatives to Slash-and-burn Agriculture, the other for Sustainable Permanent Crops. Dr Stephan Weise IITA Humid Forest Ecoregional Center Yaoundé, Cameroun Fax : +237 2237437 Email : firstname.lastname@example.org