What is Regenerative Agriculture?

Regenerative agriculture is not a new idea, but has recently gained momentum, mainly due to accelerating global environmental issues like biodiversity loss, water scarcity and the impacts of climate change. The aim of regenerative agriculture is to regenerate the health, vitality, and evolutionary capability of whole living systems (Soloview/Landua). While there is no single definition of what regenerative agriculture means, it can be described through its principles and practices (for a list of practices, see ,e.g., Project Drawdown).  In short, regenerative agriculture means reversing the harm done to our natural ecosystems and embracing agricultural practices that leave the land in better shape for future generations.

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What is the status of Regenerative Agriculture in cocoa farming?

The cocoa sector suffers from pertinent issues such as spreading pests and diseases on (monoculture) cocoa farms or the effects of deforestation and climate change. Many actors consider regenerative agricultural practices as part of the solution. While certain practices are being tested (e.g. biochar, agroforestry, crop diversification) and more holistic approaches receive some support (e.g. dynamic agroforestry), these “innovations” cover only a very small portion of land managed under cocoa. 

Scaling regenerative practices in cocoa farming is complicated by multiple factors: 

  • Lack of know-how and capabilities to implement regenerative practices in the cocoa origins
  • Access to seedlings/seeds for crop diversification is limited in many locations
  • Suitable tools and equipment for regenerative farm management are missing
  • Financing required in the beginning of the transition to regenerative practices is usually not available
Objective: scaling up regenerative cocoa

What is needed to scale up Regenerative Cocoa?

  • Mindset. There is a shared understanding in the cocoa sector (incl. farmers, traders, product & service providers, chocolate makers, retailers, consumers, ministries and relevant departments in producing and consuming countries) that regenerative practices represent the future of cocoa farming.
  • Training and coaching. Farmers have access to relevant knowledge, training and ongoing coaching. The methods are cost-effective, targeted and scalable.
  • Equipment, inputs & planting material. Farmers have access to necessary equipment, inputs and planting material to transform their farms to regenerative agriculture. Products and services are designed to support the transition.
  • Finance. Financial instruments are available for the different actors, smoothening the transition to regenerative cocoa farming and providing incentives to transform. The creation of natural capital is valued and compensated.
  • Technology. Digital solutions provide the means to reach scale at lower costs and faster. 

How do we get there?

The ii2030 process

Consultation

October & November 2021

Consult a diverse group of partners to understand the system and identify leverage points

All relevant stakeholders, applications now open!

Co-Creation

Q1 2022

Co-create a collaborative solution with relevant partners in Ghana

Implementation

Starting Q2 2022

  • Prototype solution in at least one location
  • Assess results and get ready for scale up 

Next steps: Consultation Workshops - Applications now open

We invite all stakeholders to join us on the journey and co-create a shared idea of the current system and potential leverage points with us! 

Two online workshops:

  • October 25, 2021 (13-15h CET; 11-13h Ghana time) 
  • November 11, 2021 (13-15h CET; 12-14h Ghana time) 
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Who should participate in the consultation workshops?

People with knowledge about and/or experience with regenerative/dynamic agroforestry cocoa production systems in Ghana, particularly on smallholder farms.

We are looking for participants from the following areas:

  • (Lead) farmers, extensionists and other relevant representatives of farmers
  • Organizations, companies and start-ups that provide products and services to farmers in
  • Ghana (e.g. capacity building, finance, inputs (only organic), equipment, planting material, technology, etc.)
  • Universities and research institutes
  • Governmental, non-governmental and institutional organizations
  • Offtakers of cocoa and other agricultural products 

Co-creation and Implementation Partners