Deforestation in cocoa is an ongoing issue as farmers seek land to increase their crop. Our Climate-Smart Cocoa programmes with Rainforest Alliance are showing significant results in tackling this problem however incentives to farmers to take up the new practices are proving critical.
Our primary actions have been around encouraging farmers to plant more forest and shade trees to help create cooler microclimates in the face of rising temperatures, although farmers still see them as competing with the cocoa.
In Côte d’Ivoire we had previously been advocating 50 shade trees per hectare (ha) and then scaled up to 100 per ha. In partnership with local timber companies, and in line with the new Rainforest Alliance standards, we are now increasing our advice to plant 100 forestry and 300 shade trees per ha, paid for by the timber companies.
In 2016, cooperative farmers planted 193,000 leguminous shade trees covering 1.9 million hybrid cocoa seedlings.
Further to our own activities, we are working pre-competitively with industry partners to tackle deforestation. In March 2017, along with 11 leading cocoa and chocolate companies, we signed the Statement of Intent to the Cocoa & Forests Initiative committing to working together, in partnership with other organisations, to end deforestation and forest degradation in the cocoa supply chain, with an initial focus on Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.
For additional information about how we are working with the industry on the Cocoa & Forests Initiative to tackle deforestation, learn more on the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) site here.