Launching workshop of BMZ project: Trade-offs and synergies in climate change adaptation and mitigation in coffee and cocoa systems
By Eric Rahn and Alessandro Craparo
This week scientists from the International Centre of Tropical Agriculture (CIAT www.ciat.cgiar.org), the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA www.iita.org), the University of Göttingen (UGOE www.uni-goettingen.de) together with national coffee and cocoa research partners from Tanzania, Uganda and Ghana: Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TaCRI http://tacri.org/), Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG http://cocobod.gh/oursubsidiaries.php), National Coffee Research Institute of Uganda (NaCORI http://www.nacrri.go.ug/) and development partners, Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung http://www.hrnstiftung.org/ and the Agro-Eco Louis Bolk Institute http://www.louisbolk.org/africa/about-us met for a kick-off meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. This was for the launch of the project of trade-offs and synergies in climate change adaptation and mitigation in coffee and cocoa systems funded by the Bundesministerium für Wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ).
This new project initiated by Drs. Piet van Asten (IITA) and Peter Läderach (CIAT) brings novel research with the goal of adapting vulnerable coffee/cocoa based farming systems to climate change that combine improving farmer income and system resilience with contributing to climate change mitigation.
Cocoa and coffee are two perennial crops that are very sensitive to climate change and variability. In turn, these two tropical crops are the primary source of income for millions of African smallholder farmers and are key foreign revenue generators for much of the East African highlands and the humid areas of West and Central Africa. In Africa, both crops are cultivated in low and high input monocrop systems, as well as in diversified agroforestry systems. The latter systems have a high potential for increasing resilience of smallholder livelihoods as well as for climate change adaptation and mitigation and the conservation of biodiversity and other ecosystem services. On the other hand, these systems may result in lower yields therefore requiring larger production areas in forest margins. As such, low yielding tree crop production systems are amongst the major drivers of deforestation in the humid tropics.
The two-day workshop brought together the various partners in order to discuss existing projects in the region and the way forward. Based on these projects and using climate suitability modelling and participatory mapping by CIAT and national partners, focus areas were selected for the project. These included the south eastern slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and the Western slope of Mt. Elgon in Uganda for coffee over various altitudes. While for cocoa, a transect of sites were selected running from southwest to the central region of northern Ghana.
The project will develop a methodological framework for coffee/cocoa stakeholders and a dissemination toolbox in which to deliver the results in a format suitable to small-holder farmers. There is a strong focus on gender dynamics in these systems and climate-smart technologies. The project will foster four PhD students under the supervision of the institutes and UGOE which will be analysing the dynamics of these systems along the transect gradients.