Measurements at the cocoa farm.
Photo: © University of Göttingen

13.10.2017

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Scientists at Göttingen University demand to rethink options for cocoa production in West Africa. Recent findings show that cocoa grown in monoculture is more resilient to drought than cocoa produced in agroforestry systems.

A new study based on detailed field measurements in West Africa shows cocoa agroforestry to be less drought resilient than previously thought. The strong El Niño event of 2015/2016 having brought hot winds with temperatures of up to 44 ˚Celsius and severe water limitations almost wiped out the cocoa plants in agroforestry systems.

The findings call for a rethinking of the climate adaptation options in the most important cocoa production region of the world, the scientists say.

The study was conducted by doctoral student Issaka Abdulai of the Tropical Plant Production and Agricultural Systems Modelling (TROPAGS) division of the University of Göttingen, Germany. It was published in the scientific journal Global Change Biology.

West African countries severely threatened by droughts

Over 70 per cent of the world cocoa supply comes from West Africa, a region known to be vulnerable to climatic change and experiencing more frequent agro-climatic extremes in recent years.

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