The role of agroforestry systems in reconciling food and cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) and coffee (Coffea spp. L.) production in a changing environment
AbstractPerennial export crops such as cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) and coffee (Coffea spp. L.) contribute indirectly to food security by providing an income that can be used to buy food, household goods and/or supplies for the cultivation of basic food crops. Thus, any perennial crop loss incurred due to the effects of climate change will also negatively impact food security and, more generally, the livelihoods of smallholders, farmers and rural communities. It is foreseen that in the not so distant future (2050), climate change and increased land use for food crop production, to meet increasing demands for food as the world’s population increases, will negatively impact global production of perennial crops such as coffee and cocoa by reducing the availability of land suitable for their cultivation. Furthermore, the current trend towards full sun systems with excessive use of external inputs (agrochemicals, irrigation) increases the vulnerability of the cocoa and coffee sectors to climate change. To reconcile the need for food crops and the demand for export crops such as coffee and cocoa, under the scenarios of climate change and population growth, innovative production systems have to be developed. Such systems should also contribute to the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change and provide other ecosystem services such as regulation of pests and diseases. Agroforestry systems are some of the production systems which can address these manifold demands. Here, ideas for the development of competitive and sustainable agroforestry systems and the evaluation of their environmental benefits are presented and reviewed.