Our commitment to sustainability helps small-scale farmers in cacao-producing countries earn a better livelihood. Many farmers plant cacao monocultures in hopes of greater profits. This is a misconception which later takes its toll. Monocultures destroy the fertility of the land after just a few years and increase the susceptibility of the cacao trees to disease. Profit loss and poverty are the result.
Combining agriculture and forestry provides an effective remedy. Dynamic agroforestry, or DAF for short, is the mixed cultivation of cacao, fruit trees and high-grade timber trees. The original habitat of the cacao plant in the rainforest is thus imitated, allowing it to thrive better and produce higher yields. Not only does land quality and productivity improve, but the income of small-scale farmers does as well. That’s because the by-products of a dynamic agroforestry plot, such as corn, bananas, beans and avocado, are consumed by the farmers themselves and/or sold at the local market. As a result, farmers can meet all their needs thanks to their highly productive agroforestry plots and do not need to clear additional areas to cultivate crops. This way, forest land is preserved and the rainforest protected.
Together with local cacao cooperatives and project partners, we have launched dynamic agroforestry projects in cacao-producing countries such as Honduras, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Ghana and Madagascar. These projects are not only agriculturally, but also socially sustainable since we train local cacao producers as agroforestry coaches. They, in turn, pass on their knowledge to other cacao farmers.