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Trajectories of Cocoa Production in Tshopo Province: Potential for Climate-Change Mitigation

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The global demand for cocoa has increased. As a result, the area used for cocoa production rapidly increased. Africa alone produces over 70% of the cocoa in the world, with Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire being the main producers. Although listed as a crop that drives deforestation and forest degradation, cocoa farming has the potential to actively contribute to forest restoration. If practised in agroforestry and fallow or degraded areas, it can considerably contribute to biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, poverty mitigation, and other services. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which features a large forest in the Congo Basin (60%), has become a new hotspot for this cash crop. As one of the areas suitable for the development of this crop, which has been grown since colonial times, Tshopo province, DRC, is experiencing rapid increases in its cocoa-growing area. As such, our objective in this study was to track the trajectories of cocoa farming in Tshopo and determine their contributions to climate change mitigation through the restoration of degraded ecosystems. We described all cocoa development initiatives in the Tshopo province, along with their potential responses to climate change.

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