Chocolate makes children’s eyes light up and excites gourmets’ taste buds. It is rare to find an ingredient that generates such a planetary consensus! Nevertheless, at the origin of chocolate, cocoa farming is not always a fairytale.
During the last few decades, chocolate consumption has greatly increased. Cocoa has become a speculative commodity, handled like a financial product, increasingly separated from its nature of cultivable plant.
Intensive farming has grown with the terrible side effects we know: soil depletion, deforestation, lower bean quality and variety diversity and finally, great financial difficulties for small growers. The ambitious idea of Cocoa Forest was born to protect the quality cocoa production sector but also to ensure the sustainability of small producers by making them more productive, therefore autonomous and of course all the while protecting the environment in a long-lasting way.
And what if agro-forestry was the solution?
In order to find an alternative to intensive cocoa farming, Cocoa Forest intends to develop agro-forestry. This traditional way of growing cocoa combines several varieties of plants inside the cocoa plantation. Just like permaculture, agro-forestry creates a sort of symbiosis within which the diversity of the whole helps each one.
This way of traditional farming is still widely used in small plantations but it is far from being optimized. Therefore the cocoa production is extremely inferior to the one of the monoculture intensive plantations.
So, the project’s goal is to prove that agro-forestry is the sustainable and responsible solution to intensive cocoa farming.
It respects the soil, the environment and guarantees the producers autonomy and a certain living wage.
The other plants grown on the plantation may generate some revenues for the farmers as well (such as heating wood, fruits, etc.) Thus, the producer is no longer dependent on the sole production of cocoa and his revenues are no longer season-based.
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