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Drivers of cocoa agroforestry adoption by smallholder farmers around the Taï National Park in southwestern Côte d’Ivoire

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The encroachment of agricultural expansion into protected areas has led to severe biodiversity loss. To promote sustainable agriculture practices and reverse the anthropogenic pressure, several initiatives such as the Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI) and the National Strategy for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), have been undertaken. This study examines the adoption of cocoa agroforestry by smallholder farmers in the vicinity of the Taï National Park (TNP) in Southwestern Côte d’Ivoire. A structured questionnaire was administered to 323 cocoa farmers to understand their practices and perceptions of cocoa agroforestry. Results showed that most farmers (95%) grow unimproved cocoa varieties with an average yield of 376 ± 36 kg ha−1 year−1. The majority of farmers (86%) use agroforestry practices in their farming systems, with pruning techniques being used by 82% and fertilizers applied by 27%. Additionally, 54% of farmers are adopting improved agroforestry practices or planting more trees in their cocoa plantations. Factors influencing cocoa agroforestry adoption include gender, the length of residency, the number of cultivated cash crops and the incidence of black pod attacks. These findings highlight the potential to leverage community knowledge in promoting sustainable agricultural practices and generate positive impacts. These results have important implications for future initiatives aiming to promote sustainable agriculture practices and biodiversity conservation in the region. By capitalizing on the adoption of agroforestry and leveraging socioeconomic factors, it is possible to enhance the conservation of the TNP and promote sustainable cocoa farming practices.

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