Removing barriers to access finance from the National Cacao Plan in Costa Rica: cacao agroforestry for rural development and landscape restoration and adaptation 

Implemented by ECOM & The Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Our project aims to remove technical, value chain and financial barriers for farmers to participate in the Costa Rican Plan Nacional de Cacao while ensuring a reduced vulnerability of farmers and biodiversity to climate change (CC). We will help smallholder farmers and communities adapt to CC through agroforestry practices for Cacao production, ensure that coffee producers threatened by CC have an option to shift to cacao production, and generate a strategy that maximizes the positive impact on biodiversity conservation and resilience from local to country levels. 

Ecom is one of the biggest global traders of coffee, cacao and cotton sugar. Our goal is to secure the long-term future of coffee, cocoa and cotton – a future where farmers are resilient to the impacts of climate change and changing commodities prices, and where their livelihoods improve. A future where crops are grown with efficient use of resources that protect and regenerate nature, and where transparent, traceable supply chains ensure long-term sustainable change. The Cornell Lab is dedicated to advancing the understanding and protection of the natural world, the Cornell Lab joins with people from all walks of life to make new scientific discoveries, share insights, and galvanize conservation action. Ecom and The Cornell Lab have been collaborating since 2017, developing a Blueprint for Landscape Restoration through Agroforestry, from which this project builds upon. 

Project start date: December 2022

Duration: 36 months

Cohort: 2nd (September 2021 cutoff)

Award: US$250,000

Read the full StoryMap here.

Project Status

The project has made significant progress identifying existing barriers in the sector through engagement with key stakeholders, including government representatives, organisations, exporters, producers, processors, and others. This collaborative effort has established a strong foundation that they aim to continuously improve upon, enabling the team to proceed with greater precision in subsequent phases. Moreover, by fostering a fair and cooperative environment with the associated producers, they have witnessed an increasing interest and participation in the project. On the other hand, they have successfully applied the best model for predicting suitable areas for cocoa production under two climate change scenarios. The mapping provides detailed data disaggregated by district, agricultural administrative zones, and both inside and outside biological corridors and protected lands. 

Header Image: © ECOM; Footer Image: © UNEP

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