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Present-day constraints and prospects for improvements in shade management in cacao cultivation in two Mayan villages in Toledo District, Belize.
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Slash-and-burn agriculture is, under conditions with increasing pressure on resources, one cause of deforestation and land degradation. The Mayas of southern Belize use a type of slash-and-burn farming which is currently degrading the environment. On the other hand, cacao cultivation can be an integrated part of multi-storey agroforestry systems, indicated to provide capacity to maintain biodiversity. The Mayas have traditionally farmed cacao and it is now becoming an important cash crop in the district. Institutional stakeholders in Toledo district and six cacao farmers in two Mayan villages was interviewed for this study. The focus was to identify perceived constraints and prospects, as well as considerations of improvements, in shaded cacao cultivation. The farmers who participated in this study produce organic cacao under small-scale farming conditions, growing cacao under a canopy of mainly fruit and timber trees, providing income and food. Banana/plantain (Musa sp.), Salmwood (Cordia alliodora) and Cedar (Cederela odorata) are common shade species. Shade trees are randomly planted and timings for shade management is varying. Many of the farmers experience that their shade management can improve. Weather, disease, income and lack of knowledge are some of the issues in shaded cacao farming in the south of Belize. There is an on-going development of the local cacao market and the organic and Fair Trade production is constantly growing. More attention needs to be given to further research for improvements in shade management, as well as better access to resources for the local cacao farmers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 42 p.
Keyword [en]
Shade management, cacao farming, agroforestry, Toledo District, Belize.
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-16567OAI: diva2:714008
Subject / course
Educational program
2014-02-21, Gävle, 19:50 (Swedish)
Available from: 2014-04-28 Created: 2014-04-24 Last updated: 2014-04-28Bibliographically approved

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Wikström, Jenny
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