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An integrated approach to improving yield efficiency and resilience in the face of climate change through better use of cacao genetic resources

Platform Rationale

To meet demand, cocoa and chocolate producers require sufficient consistent and reliable supplies of quality cocoa beans. Globally, 40-50 million people depend on cocoa for their livelihoods. There are between 5 and 6 million cocoa farmers worldwide, who in 2016 produced around 4.7 million Tons of cocoa beans with a gross production value of US$4.6 billion (FAOSTAT). Despite this, most cocoa farmers live beneath the poverty line, on an income of less than US$2 per day. Beyond global price fluctuations, climate change poses a suite of new challenges, where rising temperatures, flooding, longer and more intense droughts and fluctuating weather patterns combine with increasing soil erosion to threaten cacao farmers' livelihoods and associated value chains.

Despite the seriousness and global reach of these threats, the world lacks a set of common, shared approaches and protocols to address them. Nor is there yet a common databank where different partners can upload their information to validate a wider analysis on cacao planting and soil characteristics and their interaction with climatic data.

Plants are adapting to climate change in different ways, each requiring different methods and means of measurement, for example, some coping mechanisms that involve plant organs can be measured by the minute, whilst other traits like yield or tree/crop canopy characteristics take longer to be measured. Furthermore measurement units often differ within and between fields, platforms or in the labs.

The physiological basis of climate resilience in cocoa is under-explored and international collaboration is essential to ensuring sustained cocoa productivity and quality in a changing climate. In the medium-term, unless we act now, there are likely to be at least a million cocoa-dependent livelihoods adversely affected by climate change.  Cocoa diversity needs more extensive characterization for resilience to abiotic stresses.

This Knowledge Platform will highlight some of the initiative that are addressing these challenges as:

i) the belove-mentioned Collaborative Framework for Cacao Evaluation - Climate Change (CFCE-CC) project,

ii) World Cocoa Foundation’s Feed the Future Partnership for Climate Smart Cocoa,

iii) a CCAFS - funded project led by CIAT Mainstreaming climate-smart practices in cocoa production in Ghana,

iv) Bioversity’s Dutch-funded cacao project in Ghana: CocoaTarget to improve climatic and agro-ecological targeting of cacao varietal recommendations, and 

v) University of Reading’s project The development of a platform for climate change research in cocoa, funded by Cocoa Research UK.

Efforts are needed to upscale research efforts for global impact. There are many inconsistencies between fields, controlled conditions sensors, units, and terminology, that all need to be harmonised.

This platform aims to foster shared strategies for addressing climate-change threats to farmer livelihoods and ecosystems in cocoa-growing regions. It is a dynamic platform that will improve according to the quality of inputs

The Platform Goal and Content

This Platform aims to be a space where multi-country cacao climate-resilience work is mapped and where different stakeholders, ranging from international research organizations, to the private sector can find and contribute to information  and discussions regarding the status quo of the topic.

The long-term goal is to increase sustainability and resilience of cocoa productivity and quality by facilitating optimal use of genetic diversity in development of improved, diverse and locally-adapted cocoa varieties. This will be achieved through:

  • Getting a clear understanding of the current knowledge on the physiological responses of cocoa and the genetic diversity to drought and high temperature.
  • Mapping out the institutional landscape and partnerships on cocoa drought and high temperature tolerance research.
  • Developing a pragmatic framework for research programs and related priorities for the next five to ten years.

 

 

Platform Areas

Preliminary Review on Research on Cacao and Drought

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The Collaborative Framework for the Cacao Evaluation Project

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The Status of Research in the Field

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Toward a standardization of Protocols and Trait Collection

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Climate Smart Cocoa Programme

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Cacao and Drought Debate Material

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Who We Are

Philippe Bastide, PhD, Project Coordinator, Alliance Bioversity International and CIAT

You can find his Bio, Credential and Latest Publications here

Ethan Budiansky, Director of Environment and leads WCF’s overarching strategy on addressing environmental sustainability across the cocoa sector. You can find his Bio, Credential and Latest Publications here

Christian Cilas, PhD, Project Biostatistician, CIRAD

You can find his Bio, Credential and Latest Publications here

Andrew Daymond, PhD, Leading role about Feasibility Study and Trait measurement Protocols, Reading University

You can find his Bio, Credential and Latest Publications here

Francesca Grazioli, MSc Associate Expert for Cacao Diversity Conservation and Use, Project Africa focal point, Alliance Bioversity International and CIAT

You can find her Bio, Credential and Latest Publications here.

Falguni Guharay, PhD, Programme Manager Climate Smart Cocoa Latin America, World Cocoa Foundation, 

You can find his Bio, Credential and Latest Publications here

Paul Hadley, PhD, Leading role about Feasibility Study and Trait measurement Protocols, Reading University

You can find his Bio, Credential and Latest Publications here

Vincent Johnson, MScProject Officer, Alliance Bioversity International and CIAT

You can find his Bio, Credential and Latest Publications here.

Julian Mateus Rodriguez, PhD, Expert in Trait measurement Protocols and Latin America focal point, Reading University

You can find his Bio, Credential and Latest Publications here

Mathias Gnion Tahi, PhD, Cacao Breeder, CNRA Côte d’IvoireYou can find his Bio, Credential and Latest Publications here

We would like to thank our Investment Partners:

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