Shade trees are necessary on farms to protect cocoa trees from the sun. To promote biodiversity, we encourage farmers to plant six to nine shade trees per acre, using at least four different species. As of 2020, the CAA has provided farmers with over 530,000 shade tree seedlings. The endangered tree species were chosen for their fast growth rates, deep roots (collecting any unused fertiliser), and the amount of shade they provide.
Shade tree distribution is an essential part in the CAA’s sustainability programme, not just because of farm optimisation, but also as a way of adapting to climate change and the challenges cocoa farmers face during a drought. In 2020, we will introduce an improved monitoring programme to measure the survival rate of shade trees, reporting the results on our website every year.