A study conducted by the PUR Lab in Peru, in partnership with the "Université libre de Bruxelles" (Belgium) and the "Universidad Agraria de la Selva" (Peru), shows that agroforestry cocoa systems can increase quality by 86 % and yields by 62%, compared to full-sun systems.
But switching from full-sun systems to agroforestry is quite a big challenge for farmers. In order to increase or maintain yields and harvest quality, the system must be designed cautiously considering several parameters, trees' density included. Shade trees modify the micro-climate for the crop, access to light, soil nutrients and water. They can influence either positively or negatively the harvest: too many trees can favor diseases due to fungus development (humidity) and may also induce competition for light, water and nutrients.
Well-designed agroforestry projects in cocoa supply chains add to sustainable development, offering social, environmental and economic benefits. They help people reforest and therefore bring an added value to their lands and ensure them a long-term income that help the local socio-economic development. Agroforestry fights deforestation and its consequences, such as soil erosion, decrease of water availability, natural disasters, landscapes degradation, and decrease of biodiversity. It also increases farmers’ awareness about these primordial issues. Agroforestry models enable cocoa farmers to access to environmental services such as conservation of water resources, preservation of biodiversity, conservation of landscapes, protection against natural disasters...
Agroforestry systems keeps onbeing the best strategy of management and protection against the global climate change effects.