Cocoa culture, besides its economic and social importance, also represents sustainable development in the communities where it is inserted, in the Atlantic Forest (Bahia and Espírito Santo) and in the Amazon region, such as Pará, Rondônia and Mato Grosso. One of the main characteristics of the production is to work as an important natural carbon dioxide sink, in other words, besides not emitting gases, it still absorbs much of the carbon present in the atmosphere. A study by the NGO Solidaridad that evaluated the carbon balance, which is how much the activity emits and sequesters this gas, verified that the system of cocoa production in family agriculture in the Amazon in 2016, has a positive environmental impact, because a good part of its cultivation is done in the shade, with its trees planted in forest areas, helping in the absorption of carbon from the environment. The study showed that in 18 years, the shaded system stores about 300 t CO2/ha, with an average sequestration of 16.6 t CO2 ha/year.
In 2016, the average carbon balance of cocoa areas was negative by 120.6 tonne of CO2 per year. In the same period, the area of native forest in the same region registered a negative balance of 6.5 tonnes of CO2. In other words, the areas of cocoa have sequestred more carbon than areas with native forest.
In the face of all the benefits that cocoa production brings to producers, society and the environment, stimulating the development of this sector of Brazilian agroindustry becomes fundamental. For this reason, AIPC has been working as a partner and supporter in a series of actions and projects aimed at increasing cocoa production potential in the coming years in a sustainable way, so that Brazil can return to producing 100% of its cocoa, and still have export surplus. So, projects such as Cacau Floresta, developed by The Nature Conservancy, the Verena Project and Solidaridad actions, aim at the restoration of depleted areas through the planting of native species, including cocoa, and the strengthening of family agriculture, are examples of initiatives already being taken to increase cocoa production in the coming years, contributing to environmental preservation and generating even more income for families. In addition, the work in partnership with Senar-Bahia through Pro-Senar Cacau, has been assisting in the organization of producers, property management, diffusion of technologies and increased productive efficiency.
Other important actions have been developed along with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA) and the Executive Committee of the Cocoa Crop Plan (Ceplac), which gained autonomy to work with the Agroforestry Systems (SAF), thus allowing integration of the cultivation of cocoa along with other crops, guaranteeing an increase in productivity and income of the producers, in the same planted area. With these works, the expectation is that the planted area with cocoa via agroforestry systems will increase from 700 thousand hectares to 1 million by the year of 2028. So, the national production will also grow and reach 400 thousand tonnes in the same period.
In the face of all this potential, planning the future is fundamental for Brazil's cocoa sector to continue growing. So, actions that begin now, will have important results for the activity in the coming years. One of them is the signing of the cooperation agreement between the Latin American Development Bank (CAF) and Banco da Amazônia / Banco do Nordeste (Basa/BNB) for the release of green bonds in cocoa. These are debt securities issued by public or private organizations, whose objective is to finance investments in sustainable projects. This operation, unprecedented in the world, was consolidated thanks to the efforts of a working group, meeting to talk about chocolate and cocoa, coordinated by the Ministry of Industry, Development and Foreign Trade (MDIC), with the participation of the main organizations of the supply chain, such as Abicab, MAPA/CEPLAC, Faeb, MMA, MRE, MI, Apex-Brasil and AIPC itself.
Actions like these will certainly be useful in enabling Brazil to expand its planted area in an economically viable and environmentally responsible manner. Therefore, the expectation is that in the coming years, the country will once again be self-sufficient in cocoa production, with potential not only to meet domestic demand, but also to increase our participation in the competitive international market.
Learn more about each of the cocoa production promotion projects in Brazil at our partners' link