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Cacao, Coffee, and Carbon

Agroforestry Systems and Carbon Markets

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Motivated by the prospects of enhancing the value of sustainably-managed ecosystems and increasing returns to coffee and cocoa farmers, there has been strong interest from a variety of actors in combining carbon crediting with sustainable production of agricultural commodities, especially coffee and cocoa. These crops can be grown under the shade of tree species with high carbon content, but they have also been a significant driver of deforestation and degradation as farmers abandon older, unproductive plots and/or convert nutrient-rich natural forests for cocoa or coffee production.

Nevertheless, few, if any, of these types of agroforestry carbon credit initiatives have gone to market. The purpose of this gathering of technical experts was to indentify the obstacles to carbon crediting in agroforestry systems, to assess the viability of overcoming those obstacles, and to outline possible opportunities for developing projects.

The technical experts’ meeting was held in Washington, DC on June 19th, 2009.