Sustainable cacao farming provides a high level of income to the farmers, and helps rebuild rainforests.
Since most of the nutrients in a tropical rainforest are found in plants, and not in the soil, tree crops represent the most sustainable form of agriculture in cacao-growing regions. Because cacao thrives in the forest understory, it integrates perfectly with timber and other economically important tree crops.
These mixed agroforestry systems provide a diversified, productive crop base for 25-30 years, compared with pasture or annual crops which deplete the soil in as little as three years. Cacao grown in such a complex system is less susceptible to disease and insect pests, and requires less fertilizer and other soil amendments if companion tree species are chosen correctly.
This system also promotes biodiversity better than a simple monoculture of bananas or sugar cane, since several layers or “stories” of rainforest canopy provide multiple habitats for birds and other forest animals.
At SCHARFFEN BERGER Chocolate Maker, we recognize the positive role that cacao can play in preserving rainforest biodiversity. For this reason, we routinely visit the farms where our cacao is grown and encourage farmers to use sustainable farming techniques.