Promoting the Value of Biodiversity on Cocoa Farms

Data collection on biodiversity indicators has started in Ghana.

Following the most recent field visit in Ghana to analyse test results for the IFC-funded project, research consultants Bioversity International developed a specialised rapid biodiversity assessment method in order to take a base-line study of biodiversity levels on cocoa farms. Our challenge was to design a method that is both accurate and replicable, while being rapid and practical enough for field staff to carry out alongside farm mapping duties. The method will be used to collect data on over 10,000 farms in Ghana, before being widely available for global roll-out.

The conservation and promotion of biodiversity in agriculture is important not only for a sound ecosystem, but also to diversify farmer income and diet which is important for sustainable livelihoods and food and nutrition security. On cocoa farms, 30-40% mature shade tree coverage is recommended (i.e.: 70% sunlight); Asare, R. and David, S. (2010), “Planting, replanting and tree diversification in cocoa systems. Learning about sustainable cocoa production: a guide for participatory farmer training”.

The data from this GeoTraceability biodiversity module will be used among other things to inform training programs which help farmers realise the benefit of biodiversity.