Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 177–188 | Cite as

Smallholder Cacao (Theobroma cacao Linn.) cultivation in agroforestry systems of West and Central Africa: challenges and opportunities

  • B. Duguma
  • J. Gockowski
  • J. Bakala


The cultural features, management practice, environmental sustainability, and economic profitability of smallholder cacao (Theobroma cacao)production in West and Central Africa are reviewed. The aim is tohighlight factors affecting the cacao production and marketing sectorand to propose appropriate strategies to ensure sustainable and profitable cacao production in the region. The cacao cultivation system causes minimum damage to soil resources. In terms of carbon sequestration and below- and above-ground bio-diversity, the cacao agroforest is superior to the alternative food crop production land use. The food crop production system is based on the practice of slash-and-burn farming, which, due to population pressure and reduced fallow cycle, is no longer sustainable. Economic profitability analysis of this system in Cameroon showed that, at current prices, even with no value assigned to the tree species, the sector could still be profitable. Based on the current review and our knowledge of West and Central Africa, there is an urgent need to: (a) rationalize and optimize arrangement of the various components in cacao agroforest, (b) domesticate high value and shade tolerant indigenous species such as Gnetum africanum and integrate into the system in order to enhance the system's diversity and profitability, (c) develop shade-tolerant and disease-resistant cacao varieties, (d) integrate small-stock production into the system, and (e) develop an enabling policy environment addressing cacao marketing, plant protection, land tenure and transformation of non-cacao primary products from the cacao agroforests.

biodiversity environment humid lowland forest natural resources 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Duguma
  • J. Gockowski
  • J. Bakala

There are no affiliations available

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