Smart Designed, Mechanised Large-Scale Cocoa Plantations as a Forward-Looking Component of Sustainable Cocoa Production
Ralf Rathsack, Silke Elwers
ForestFinest-Consulting, Land-Use, Germany
To meet the rising demand in the 1960s and 70s, smallholder farmers, especially in West Africa, started to increasingly grow cocoa. In order to generate higher incomes and to overcome price fluctuations, farmers intensified their farming strategies which led to an intermediate improvement of livelihood but also to a higher dependency on cocoa. Today, farmers get a share of about 6-10% of the high-end chocolate product compared to 15-23% in the beginning of the 60s. Thus they often miss the up-to-date knowledge, network and financial background to run highly intensified cocoa cultures in a sustainable way. Among others this led to extensive use of agrochemicals without increasing productivity in long-term. Land scarcity due to deforestation and soil degradation processes is becoming an important issue in many tropical countries. Besides, climate change is expected to seriously affect the present cocoa growing regions.
Keywords: Agro-industrialisation, agroforestry-systems, cocoa, large-scale, sustainable land-use
Contact Address: Ralf Rathsack, ForestFinest-Consulting, Land-Use, Burchardstraße 18a, 20095 Hamburg, Germany, e-mail: rathsackforestfinest-consulting.com