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Diversification of Cocoa Farms in Côte d’Ivoire: Complementarity of and Competition from Rubber Rent

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Economics and Ecology of Diversification

Abstract

The diversification model proposed in Chapter 1 emphasizes ecological change after a few decades of quasi-monoculture. Is it also a primary determinant of diversification for the world’s leading producer of cocoa? In the early-to-mid 2010s, cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire is above 1.5 million tonnes per year. This growth dynamic is mainly explained by the universal model of cocoa economies: new migrations leading to massive clearing of forests. The decline of the old cocoa farms rarely appears in statistics due to the massive new planting mostly at the expense of the last pockets of forests. However, in the old cocoa and coffee regions, the lure of rubber and oil palm cultivation has increasingly gone hand in hand with lower cocoa yields, the fight against insect damage and diseases, and difficulties of replanting. It has led to the clearing of cocoa plantations or the cultivation of rubber in the understory of old cocoa trees waiting to be felled. In addition to factors of price and public policy (for example, the creation of a hybrid oil palm and clonal rubber sectors in the 1960s), the process of diversification was partly driven by deforestation and exhaustion of the forest rent. For many smallholders, even more than markets and cocoa prices which need a serious stimulus, and besides the land conflicts, the answer rests on the ability of research and the chocolate industry to come up with technological advances applicable at low cost to help them to solve the universal problems of cocoa replanting.

Plantation crops seem to be superimposed on each other and, therefore, seem to be more complementary than competitive. Depending on the region, it is the autochthons or migrants who grow one or other of these perennial crops.

P. de la Vaissière, 1978, p. 105

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Notes

  1. 1.

    For a definition of UMCI, see Footnote 3 in the Chap. 1.

  2. 2.

    Traditionally, for an outsider to the community, land access was part of a broader process of integration into the community, by way of a ‘tutorat’ relationship (Chauveau 2006). Through this patronage relationship, an autochthon (the tuteur) granted to a migrant rights to land (on uncleared forest taken from the village or lineage land reserve), according to a principle of moral economy, namely, all individuals should get access to the resources necessary for their subsistence. The migrant (or his heirs), in turn, had a ‘duty of gratitude’ towards his tuteur (or the latter’s heirs), expressed through everyday civilities and through the offering of gifts after harvests and on important social occasions, such as funerals (Chauveau 2006; Colin 2008).

  3. 3.

    This fundamental role of tree crops as markers of land ownership in Côte d’Ivoire has been widely analyzed by many social scientists (Gastellu, Affou Yapi, Schwartz, Lena, Lesourd, Chauveau, Dozon, Colin Léonard among others). Fallows, on the other hand, can be taken back by autochthons. It has also been identified in Ghana. (Goldstein and Udry 2008).

  4. 4.

    This development is not, however, without dangers to medium-term food security (Chap. 7).

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Ruf, F. (2015). Diversification of Cocoa Farms in Côte d’Ivoire: Complementarity of and Competition from Rubber Rent. In: Ruf, F., Schroth, G. (eds) Economics and Ecology of Diversification. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-7294-5_2

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