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The myth of complex cocoa agroforests : The Case of Ghana

Ruf F.. 2011. Human Ecology, 39 (3) : p. 373-388.

DOI: 10.1007/s10745-011-9392-0

Most researchers defend cocoa agroforests as a model, which guarantees sustainable cocoa production while protecting biodiversity. However, in most countries, farmers' strategies favour "full sun" cocoa farms, close to the concept of monoculture. Why this apparent paradox? Field surveys were conducted in 2005 and 2008 with 180 migrant and autochthon farmers in four districts of Ghana, including some measurements at the farm plot level and satellite images in a fifth district. An analytical grid shows how factors interact. Adoption of sun-loving hybrids; farmers' negative perception of ecological services in relation to hybrids; legislation excluding smallholders from the legal timber market; recent expansion of the timber industry; and the migratory phenomenon. Most smallholders consider complex cocoa agroforests as a thing of the past. They were designed at a time when land and forests were abundant. The future of cocoa and timber may lie in 'light commercial-oriented agroforests' or a kind of mosaic landscape. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : theobroma cacao; petite exploitation agricole; agroforesterie; ghana

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