Logo Tropentag

Tropentag 2023, September 20 - 22, Berlin, Germany

"Competing pathways for equitable food systems transformation: trade-offs and synergies."

Brazilian cabruca: Agroforestry as a pathway to biodiversity conservation and food security for small cocoa farmers

Thiago Sabatinelli Rodrigues

Casa Torta Pirangi Sustainable Cocoa, Brazil


In the State of Bahia, Brazil, a traditional cocoa agroforestry system known as “cabruca” has been contributing to the preservation of a significant part of the original coverage of the Atlantic Forest, one of the 25 world’s biodiversity hotspots. Cabruca is a diverse, dynamic and perennial system, resilient to climate stressors when compared to conventional cocoa production and other farming systems. Cocoa is cultivated using principles of agroforestry and syntropic agriculture, under the canopy of the Atlantic Forest, home to native and endemic species. The conservation of the large trees and the use of ecological farming practices contribute to the protection of a biome which provides valuable ecosystem services, particularly climate stabilisation, carbon sequestration and water availability for agriculture. Several initiatives are being undertaken to explore the potential of the cabrucas for the production of premium, value-added products (organic cocoa nuts, chocolate, nibs, cocoa honey, vinegar, cocoa pulp etc.), with a commercial value greater than the obtained in the commodity market. Exploiting a yet untapped (and promising) market of sustainable cocoa products can not only increase the income of families, but also improve crop diversity, access and stability of food supply to small farmers. The preservation of cabrucas, however, depends on the revitalisation of old small cocoa production units, improving their processes and products with ongoing technical assistance, scientific research, technological development and marketing. Agroforestry systems with cocoa cultivation are also an opportunity for other developing countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia, which account for all the global cocoa production.

Keywords: Agroforestry, Atlantic forest, biodiversity, cabruca, cocoa, food security

Contact Address: Thiago Sabatinelli Rodrigues, Casa Torta Pirangi Sustainable Cocoa, Fazenda Pirangi, lote 2, 45980-000 Prado, Brazil, e-mail: sabatinelli@gmail.com

Valid HTML 3.2!