In May 2017, the NGO Mighty Earth revealed the destruction of government forest reserves in Côte d’Ivoire by cocoa cultivation: out of 234, only six were still relatively intact. Deforestation outside reserves, largely due to cocoa, was also severe: 94% of Côte d’Ivoire ’s humid tropical forest was gone. Many had known what was happening. But the Mighty Earth report was a turning point after which the crisis could be openly spoken of. Cocoa agroforestry had long been of interest. The industry knew that cocoa grew with other trees in Central America and in complex multi-strata agroforestry systems in Cameroon with up to 20 types of tree. In 2014 my organization World Agroforestry (ICRAF) interviewed 355 Ivorian cocoa farmers: an overwhelming majority (338) knew the benefits of growing it with other trees. But there was always hesitancy. This forest reserve has been heavily encroached by cocoa cultivation (as seen in foreground here in 2017). The Ivorian government now intends to increase tree cover in such reserves with agroforestry. Photo courtesy of Cathy Watson/CIFOR-ICRAF. The release of the Mighty Earth report changed this, however. There was no rush to solve the crisis. Deforestation did not stop. But there was a new openness. Cocoa agroforestry was no longer on the fringe. Companies like Barry Callebaut and Mars Wrigley began trialing it, and in 2019, Côte d’Ivoire’s top cocoa body, Le Conseil du Café et Cacao (CCC) pronounced that it “could without doubt address the problems of climate change caused in part by the…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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