DACAPI: Conversion of wet rice to shaded cocoa
The project DACAPI is located in the Piura region, in the north of Peru. The region has a history in wet rice cultivation, mainly in smallholder setting. Due to strong fluctuating market prices for rice, rice farming is often unprofitable and an insecure source of income for farmers, for which rice is their sole source of income. The climate and soil in the region is however excellent for cocoa cultivation. The region is famous for its fine flavor criollo cocoa and our local partner NorAndino has received several international prices for having the best cocoa in the fine flavor segment. This triggered the idea for the innovative DACAPI project, where wet rice fields will be converted to shaded cocoa systems, which is both financially smart and climate smart!
DACAPI is one of our most innovative projects related to land restoration with a strong socio-economic and climate impact. In collaboration with our local partner CepiCafe/NorAndino, ProClimate aims to convert degraded smallholder rice land to shaded cocoa systems, using unique high flavor criollo cocoa species.
We simply start by planting beans/leguminosae and banana. These crops will restore the soil structure. Banana, sold on the national market, will generate short term income for the farmer. Then, after the banana trees are productive (after around 9 months), shade timber/fruit trees and cocoa trees are added. Both banana and the shade trees will provide the shade that cocoa needs. Read about the impacts of these simple measures below.
The ecological concepts of DACAPI are simple but the impacts are numerous. From an ecological point the on-farm micro-climate will improve, which, together with the litter from the shade trees will improve soil fertility. The shade from the trees is beneficial for biodiversity, which is another great benefit. Working conditions and income for farmers will also increase, which is a precondition for all projects that ProClimate and its partners implement. High amount of pesticide use, common for wet rice systems, will be history in cocoa, needles to mention the benefits of that. DACAPI will also have a large impact on GHG emissions. Calculations show that reductions of around 16 tCO2 ha-1 year-1 can be expected due to the conversion to shaded cocoa, mainly achieved by avoided methane emissions (CH4).
The project is monitored near-real time through our Fieldmessenger webportal. On this portal, field data collected with electronic tablets, is processed near-real time into meaningful information on this webportal. This is how we keep all stakeholders up-to-date about the progress that is made and results that are being achieved. See: proclimate.fieldmessenger.org