Soil & climate

Cadmium levels found in cocoa beans are related to natural geographic variation in soil properties, although anthropogenic factors (e.g., contamination from mining areas and industrial sites, or use of fertilizers with elevated cadmium concentrations) can also contribute. In order to inform production strategies and public policies, a good understanding of the spatial distribution, sources and bioavailability of cadmium in cacao production systems is critical. Furthermore, there is an urgent demand for robust and cost-effective solutions to reduce bean cadmium content via changes in production systems, such as the use of soil amendments that reduce cadmium bioavailability and uptake.

Further, Climate change is already negatively affecting cacao production and production stability due to longer and more intense dry periods, increased and prolonged incidences of pests and diseases and more erratic rainfall, albeit with strong geographical variation. Cacao producers need a transformation to climate smart cocoa strategies is achieved. Therefore, the generation and communication of actionable and context-specific information on the impacts of climate change on cacao production and expansion areas is a priority to guide policies and practices for sustainable growth of the cocoa sector.

For this reason, the soils and climate component focuses on:

Act 1.1

Pilot and evaluate promising soil amendments on smallholder farms using participatory methods

Act 2.1

Evaluate promising soil amendments and agroforestry designs in multi-locational research trials for their effects on cadmium levels, productivity, soil health and climate relevance

Act 3.1

Pilot and evaluate promising soil amendments on smallholder farms using participatory methods.

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