Agroforestry is more productive than monoculture, and organic agroforestry is competitive with its conventional counterpart.

Published online
17 Oct 2018
Content type
Bulletin article; Conference paper

Andres, C. & Schneider, M. & Trujillo, G. & Alcon, F. & Amurrio, P. & Perez, E. & Weibel, F. & Milz, J.
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Cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) is produced in monocultures (MONO) or agroforests (AF). Farmers have to decide between two strategies: short-term (rapid incomes by maximizing cocoa yields in MONO) or long-term (diversified, sustainable production and ecosystem services in AF). More long-term data on the ecological, economic and social performance of such systems under different management regimes is needed to make sound recommendations to farmers. Here we describe the only long-term field trial worldwide comparing MONO and AF under conventional (CONV) and organic (ORG) management (full-factorial, randomized complete block design with four replications). First results show significantly faster development of trunk circumferences in MONO compared to AF (+21%). In MONO, cocoa yields were 47% lower in the ORG compared to the CONV system. In the AF, however, the ORG-CONV yield gap was smaller (-16%) and statistically insignificant. The cumulative yields of all harvested products were significantly higher in AF compared to MONO (+161%). The productivity of cocoa by-crops in AF may contribute to local food security and risk distribution in smallholder contexts.

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