Cacao Agroforestry Systems – a price Benefit review

Another Great Coffee Blog!

Building on Dan McQuillan’s Coffeelands Blog series on dilemmas farm that is surrounding, I want to shift a bit to the world of Cacao and highlight some work coming out of CRS’ Allianza Cacao program in El Salvador. Agroforestry approaches, increasingly promoted globally, present a set that is complex of for assessment – with many interrelated factors, what’s the optimal suggestion of crop mix for a farmer in confirmed area? With various crop lifespans and cycles to readiness, over what time horizon should an Agroforestry System’s earnings be examined?  Concerns such as for instance they are overlaid upon those relevant to crop that is single such as which is a more efficient use of limited resources, farm extensification or intensification?

The Allianza Cacao project completed research year that is last an effort to respond to some of those concerns. 

Determining the many benefits of agroforestry in cacao production

Cacao producers in El Salvador established a variety that is wide of systems and manage the systems with different degrees of intensification. Therefore, the systems show a lot of variabilities and require a analysis that is cost-benefit in the faculties of every associated with the plots, their administration, the manufacturing of every associated with the products, additionally the earnings through the purchase or usage of the systems’ services and products. 

To meet this challenge, Allianza Cacao developed something for the cost-benefit and analysis that is financial of systems. This tool is used to estimate the costs, revenues, and profitability of the operational systems, considering information in the stock, administration itineraries, and harvest information projected over 25 years. The research, carried out from July – September 2020, carried down a cost-benefit analysis of 110 plots of cacao agroforestry systems, chosen from 22 monitoring plots:

Locations of 22 facilities of cacao monitoring plots around which all plots of examined were situated (CRS, 2020)

In many feasibility that is financial, the investment appraisal technique has been used to examine the viability of cacao agroforestry systems. With cacao agroforestry systems, benefits and costs linked to the development stages of cacao and the other crops. The early stages of system are associated with high establishment costs, followed then by costs or investments that must be made during the development stages of the crop. The benefits that are annual if the plants commence to create, and perhaps, they end if the crop is eradicated through the system, such as for instance with fundamental grains and plantains. A period of 25 years was used, starting with the establishment of the items (1 year), followed by years of development of the items (1-16 years) and the years of harvest or benefits (1-25 years).

The for this study results generated from the analysis of the cases were useful to define the methodology for cost-benefit analysis and to generate data that are preliminary the profitability of cacao agroforestry systems, utilizing a profitability calculator (in Spanish) produced by Allianza Cacao. Profitability had been determined both with regards to Internal Rate of Return (IRR) and present that is net (NPV).

Online profitability analysis tool for agroforestry systems used for the cost-benefit study

As a step that is first the task analyzed their 1633 task participant plots on documents, updated them through industry verifications, produced types of Agroforestry Systems and assigned farmers to each category, causing the next breakdown:

Alongside issue of diversification, the group broke the plots under research consideration in groups on the basis of the size, degree of irrigation, diversification, and intensification of administration. Making use of these categorizations, the group developed leading concerns to be able to tease out of the factors that many affected profitability of a plot that is single Study


  • Data analysis produced a number of interesting results:
  • It was observed that the sale of cacao, plantains, fruit, and food grains components contributed more to the income that is total whilst the coffee, timber, and solution tree elements didn’t contribute much, almost certainly because of not enough woodland item harvesting and low coffee cost and efficiency.
  • The size of cacao agroforestry plots handled by the task beneficiaries had a influence that is clear the profitability of the agroforestry systems. This is possible for the good reasons that beneficiaries with bigger cacao agroforestry system plots have significantly more resources to purchase the systems, have actually greater accessibility to work, and may arrange the task with time. There is also better connections to promote their products or services at better rates.
  • Complementary irrigation additionally had a influence that is strong profitability. This is because of supplemental irrigation guarantees higher productivity, higher harvest volume. Thus, supplemental irrigation is not only profitable but is a critical element in managing the risks of cacao agroforestry systems arising due to climatic variability.
  • The Influence of diversification of the operational systems on profitability wasn’t clear. A revision associated with the inventories and administration itineraries unveiled that a beneficiary could have a plot that is well-diversified but its inventory may be poor and management of its plots may be non-intensive. 

The results showed that there was a influence that is clear of strength of administration on profitability. This would be because of the upsurge in efficiency caused by intensive administration irrigation that is including which reduces plant mortality caused by extreme events such as prolonged drought and prevents the loss of production due to water stress.

It is important to note that the analysis is based on projections of the harvest of cacao and the other crops, since the systems are only 3 to 4 years old, and have not attained their full production capacity yet. The study should be repeated in 3 years’ time when the systems reach maturity and harvest that is actual may be used as opposed to projected information for an even more accurate estimation associated with the profitability associated with the agroforestry systems.

The complete report, in Spanish just, provides a lot more information that is detailed can be found here.

For further questions, please contact Chief of Party, Jairo Andrade: jairo.andrade@crs* that