Shade tree training

Trees in Cocoa Agroforestry TiCA

  • News

 

The Tree in Cocoa Agroforestry TiCA Program

Reforestation of deforested farmland areas in Bia - Juaboso landscape

Essential for cocoa production is a rich forest micro climate which provides the needed humidity, nutrients and shade for the growth of cocoa trees. This calls for the provision of a forest-like set of conditions which involves the incorporation of shade trees on cocoa farms to provide the right climate for growth. Among Ghanaian farmers, two kinds of shade regimes namely, temporary and permanent shade regimes are used in the life cycle of the cocoa tree. In the temporal shade regime, crops such as cassava and plantain which are intermittent food crops and have a very short life span are incorporated in cocoa farms when the cocoa trees/plants are very young (2 years and below). On the other hand, forest trees with a long life span and designated to provide deferent levels of canopy cover that allows for the right shade and sunlight to reach cocoa plants when they are old are used in the permanent shade regime. The cultural practice of incorporating permanent forest trees as means of providing shade in cocoa farms is referred to as cocoa agroforestry. Timber trees species provide enough shade and have therefore been incorporated into Cocoa agroforestry in Ghana. This concept is termed as Tree in Cocoa Agroforestry TiCA

Planted shade tree  A section of the youth receiving training on the TiCA project Shade Trees 2

Left: Planted shade tree, Middle: A section of the youth receiving training on the TiCA project, Right: Shade tree at Nursery

In Ghana, majority of cocoa farms are in the stage where they have to be planted with permanent shade trees but the reality is different. On average, it is recommended that 18 permanent mature shade trees are to be found on a hectare of cocoa farm but that isn’t the case. The general economic, social, ecological and practical values of TiCA for sustainable cocoa production is not new to farmers. They have gained this knowledge mostly through sensitization efforts by COCOBOD, Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs), NGOs, private companies such as Touton and also through local knowledge. However, the opportunity for diversifying their income streams through the planting of forest trees is yet to be explored. The 3PRCL project has capitalized on this to achieve one of its goals of ‘increased cocoa productivity, through the institution and implementation of climate smart cocoa production standards’ while improving the livelihoods of cocoa farmers within the Bia-Juabeso landscape.

~ We are so happy to be engaged by the 3PRCL Project and Forestry Commission to help restore most of the forest in this neighborhood. Deforestation is increasing in recent times and we hope this initiative will help curb it.

Kwesi Manu, Youth in TiCA project, Yawmatwa

In addition, the project supports farmers to replant and or replace planted cocoa seedlings which do not survive. A total of 100,000 cocoa seedlings have been raised to support farmers to replace seedlings they lost during the first drought after replanting. This has been done to ensure that farmers are maximizing the use of their replanted fields. The seedlings were raised from two nurseries located in Abosi (to serve communities around Bia National Park) and Nsowakrom (to serve communities around Bia North Forest Reserve).

Considering the smooth adaptation of TiCA by the farmers, it is envisaged that continuous implementation of the concept will contribute to the needed resilience within the Bia-Juabeso landscape. Ultimately, the landscape will produce climate-smart cocoa beans and the livelihoods of farmers will be improved.

~ I am going to have another income stream from my cocoa farm. I didn’t think about it in that way but thanks to the 3PRCL Project in the next few years whilst I am gaining money from selling my cocoa, I am also getting something from the trees I have planted.                                        

Kweku Fosu, Farmer, Essam Community

 

Partnership for Productivity Protection & Resilience in Cocoa Landscapes - Adm