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8462 - Does Organic Cocoa Certification Contribute to Socioeconomic and Environmental Conservation? Comparative Study in the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon

Small-scale producers are responsible for over two thirds of total global cocoa production and most of it occurs in areas of high biodiversity (Clay 2004; Donald 2004; Mendes 2011). In Latin America, 5–6 million farmers are involved in cocoa production (Somarriba 2006; World Cocoa Foundation 2010), in an area of 8 million hectares (COPAL 2009). The production of certified organic cocoa has reached 15,500 tonnes (ICCO 2011). Considering the increasing relevance of cocoa production in the Amazon region, the main research question is whether organic cocoa certification contributes to enhancing smallholders’ well-being and environmental conservation. This paper presents results of an ongoing research project led by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), by conducting a cost-benefit analysis of organic certification building up on the results of survey questionnaires applied to cocoa farmers, while exploring smallholders’ perceptions based on qualitative assessments of environmental, socio-cultural and economic dimensions. The methodology was applied in the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon enabling the comparison of two case studies, one in San Martin (Peru) and the other in the Transamazon Highway region, Pará (Brazil). Certification contributes to generating new markets and commercialization opportunities, as well as to conservation of water and organic matter (positive to very positive effect), except for the effect on additional jobs, which is neutral. Yet, 98,5% of the producers from this region are not participating in certification systems. Cocoa producers do not participate due to p rice premiums for organically certified cocoa do not compensate additional expenses, especially labour costs, insufficient resources for initial investment in processing infra-structure as well as the necessity of having cash at the moment of the purchase agreement to cover immediate expenses or even pay off debts.

Keywords: Pan-amazonia, sustainable development, cacao, certification

Author: Cunha, Marcelo (World Agroforestry Centre - ICRAF, Brazil / Brasilien)

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