Owosu Sampson, a cocoa farmer from the Anyinam District of Ghana, explains: “Last year I received 150 cocoa seedlings and 12 multipurpose tree seedlings from the local nursery that has been established in my community, Adasawase. I have five cocoa plots where I grow my cocoa. I am grateful for this nursery and the access to multipurpose trees as they benefit the growth of my cocoa trees and help me maintain my yields.”
Owosu visited the nursery in early 2022 to collect his cocoa and multipurpose tree seedlings. He received Terminalia superba and Terminalia ivorensis, two of the most popular species of forest trees among farmers. In just two years, they can reach beyond two meters in height. These trees bring additional shade to protect the cocoa leaves from increasing drought stress due to climate change. This also helps with cocoa yields. These activities are part of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative to end deforestation in West Africa.
Farmers are trained to plant the trees according to one of five agroforestry models, for example as a boundary along the farms, making use of open spaces or even planting according to a predefined plan. Distribution of seedlings is done based on a needs assessment. For instance, farmers who need seedlings for rejuvenation receive more seedlings than others.
“I have 25 multipurpose trees on this particular plot, which is 1 hectare in size. The trees are attracting rain, and they shelter my cocoa from the sun.” Owosu planted most of the seedlings in the open spaces on his farm. He has made sure that they receive enough shade. No extra watering was required for the seedlings to do well, as they were distributed at the beginning of the rainy season.