Submitted to: World Agroforestry Congress
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 31, 2009
Publication Date: N/A
The Cacao Cabruca Agroforestry system of production was developed by farmers in Bahia over 200 years ago. This system consists of planting cacao under the shade of trees in the Atlantic rain forest and has on an average 693 cacao plants and 93 trees per hectare. Even though the local community utilizes the agrobiodiversity of cabruca for their daily life for food, firewood, timber, etc, but the main source of income is mainly from the cocoa beans. Because of the loss of productivity of cacao caused by disease and pests, the sustainability of cabruca agroforestry is being threatened and therefore, its maintenance requires the exploration of other elements of the system to generate income. A study was implemented to understand the point of view of small farmers on the utilization of the agrobiodiversity of the cabruca system of cacao cultivation.
The survey was developed with a sample of 160 small farmers in seven agrarian-reform settlements. These farmers have low income and difficulties in absorbing conventional technologies; however they have high ethno-botanical knowledge. The results demonstrated that in regard to exploitation of cacao the constraints were follows: loses from diseases and animal, low soil fertility, too much shade and lack of rural technical assistance, organization and financial resources. In regard to utilization of the agro biodiversity to improve the cocoa economy the solutions were grouped as follows: enriching the system with fruit trees and native timber trees; utilization of organic fertilizers, utilization of water present in the farm; production of chocolate in combination with fruits, harvesting of native tree seeds and raising native animals. These results show that for the farmers the cabruca agroforestry has great potential of income, which is yet to be explored, and that cocoa diseases are the main limitation for production.