Participative design of the spatial and temporal development of improved cocoa agroforestry systems for yield and biodiversity
Elsevier, Europeam journal of agronomy 132 (2022) 126395
Farmers constantly adapt cropping systems to meet their needs. Cocoa farming is frequently associated with low incomes and little access to technical innovations for the small farmers and their families who are responsible for most cocoa production around the world. A collaborative approach, including different professionals working in the Dominican cocoa sector, led to the emergence of many technical innovations designed to modify the current agroforestry systems (AFS) in order to increase their overall productivity while maintaining a high level of biodiversity. Two types of original results are presented: (i) the co-design method that combined different participatory tools drawn from the literature and (ii) the results of applying the method for the co-design of complex AFS in four working groups. Compared to current AFS, a first level of innovation that emerged during the workshops involves the diversity and density of associated crops in AFS. The second level of innovation deals with the evolution over time and location of the different species selected for the AFS plots. This participatory work led to the formulation of four AFS prototypes whose crop species and densities follow spatio-temporal dynamics anticipated to be capable of providing better revenues while maintaining a high level of crop biodi- versity. The different technical and management innovations of these prototypes are described and discussed. The AFS prototypes resulting from the co-design process will be established on farm to assess their agronomic, ecological and economic performances.