Side event

Restoration of degraded cocoa landscapes in Côte d’Ivoire: Lessons and perspectives

Restoration of cocoa landscape is a key response to reverse the dramatic degradation of soil, poor agricultural practices, rural livelihoods, and ecosystem services in the cocoa belt of Côte d’Ivoire. In the past 50 years, the country has lost nearly 90% of its natural forests. During the same period, Côte d’Ivoire has led cocoa production worldwide, contributing to about 40% of the annual production (ICCO, 2015)[1] and feeding the chocolate market with an estimated US$44 billion[2] in 2019. Cocoa sector accounts for 15% of the Gross Domestic Product. It is estimated that one million smallholder farmers and over six million people are active along the cocoa value chain in the country. Despite its importance, the cocoa sector is besieged with challenges caused by the degradation of the cocoa landscape such as a recent cocoa swollen shoot virus disease outbreak, climate variability, and unsustainable farming practices leading to poor yield of the cocoa farms, and ultimately to an impoverishment of the cocoa farmers. There is a need to revitalize the cocoa community and restore cocoa landscapes for a sustainable future. Speakers will share lessons learned in efforts to revitalize the cocoa sector across Côte d’Ivoire related to policies and investments that catalyze change, and synergies and tradeoffs with other development outcomes. In addition, innovations and nature-based solutions to build resilient cocoa and forest landscapes through fixing degraded soil, managing cocoa swollen shoot disease, integrating trees in cocoa and forest landscapes, and diversifying farmer’s revenues will be presented

[1] ICCO. 2015. Quarterly bulletin of cocoa statistics. Vol. XLI no. 3

[2] Banque Mondiale. 2019. Situation économique de la Côte d'Ivoire: Au pays du cacao, comment transformer la Côte d'Ivoire. 61p.