In Bolivia organic beats conventional agriculture as well


A long-term study in Bolivia comparing different cacao production systems shows that in addition to enhancing biodiversity as well as farmers’ food security and nutrition, agroforestry systems and organic management may also be more profitable than full-sun monocultures and conventional management in young cacao plantations. The study was carried out by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) in cooperation with partners in Bolivia.

Apart from the long-term study in Bolivia, FiBL has also compared organic and conventional cultivation methods in India and Kenya, which have shown similar positive results for the environmentally friendly methods. Biovision Foundation supported the study in Kenya and the first results were published in June 2016.

The study assessed the productivity and return on labour, that is, the income per working day, of four different cacao production systems in a long-term trial in Bolivia during the first five years after the establishment. Full-sun monocultures, where only cacao trees are grown, and agroforestry systems, where cacao trees are intercropped with shade trees and other by-crops such as bananas or plantains, were compared under both organic and conventional management.

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