in Ivory Coast, 30% of cocoa comes from protected forests despite new European rules

The EU’s ban on imports of products from deforestation is pushing the Ivorian state to better control the activity of planters. But the nibbling of the forest cover continues in this country, the world’s leading producer of beans.

Will the new European law banning products from deforestation change the situation in Côte d’Ivoire? The world’s leading cocoa-producing country, Côte d’Ivoire, has just announced that it harvested 2.4 million tonnes of cocoa beans in 2022. This is an all-time record, twice as many as 20 years ago. years. But according to experts, almost a third of this cocoa comes from classified forests, which are regularly destroyed or nibbled away to make way for cocoa plantations.

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Farmers seek out forest areas because cocoa grows faster there and the beans harvested are of better quality. Thus, Côte d’Ivoire has lost more than 90% of its forest cover in 50 years. Today, in order to recover part of this natural heritage without penalizing small producers, agroforestry has become compulsory. Growers must plant between 50 and 100 trees per hectare. A measure which, for the moment, is struggling to see the light of day.

Farmers tempted to flee to Liberia

Small producers have very limited resources and receive little support in the process. Finally, law enforcement agencies regularly launch operations in classified forests to dislodge illegal agricultural workers.

The operations sometimes provoke clashes between planters and water and forest agents. On April 4, seven agents were seriously injured, attacked with machetes during an operation to destroy young cocoa plants in the classified forest of Sangouiné, in the east of the country.

The new European law could also have unexpected adverse effects. Due to the Ivorian state’s greater control over classified forests and increased repression against those responsible for deforestation, thousands of poor agricultural workers are currently migrating to neighboring Liberia in search of new agricultural land.

The small West African country, very poor, would also like to take advantage of this cash economy. This immigration is therefore perceived as an opportunity for economic development, but it also poses the risk of massive deforestation, like what Côte d’Ivoire has experienced over the past 30 years.

source site-23