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