Venture Capitalism for a Tropical Forest: Cocoa in the Mata Atlantica


The Brazilian Atlantic Forest is one of the world's biological 'hotspots,' a region of extraordinary, and threatened, biodiversity. Saving the Atlantic Forest will require a variety of strategies. An approach described in this paper hinges on one of the world's favorite foods: cocoa. Cocoa is a major crop in Brazil, especially in the northeastern state of Bahia, where most cocoa is grown in a longstanding agroforestry system called cabruca. Because cocoa trees tolerate shade, cabruca permits preservation of much natural forest. But the cabruca system itself is now in decline. A revived and modernized form of cabruca would promote the ecological goal of forest restoration, the social goal of creating a strong and green rural economy, and the political goal of building an international consumer constituency for the endangered forest.

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Dec. 2003

The Chocolate Forest
Why Cocoa?
Why Bahia?
On the Farm
From Farm to Market
Figure 1: The Mata Atlântica Biome
Figure 2: World Cocoa Trading Prices, Production,Grindings, and Area Harvested, 1961–2002
Figure 3: The Top 10 Cocoa Producers, 1993 and 2002
Figure 4: Countries That Have Harvested at Least 100,000 Hectares of Cocoa at Least Once During the Period 1993–2002
Figure 5: How Cocoa Is Processed
Table: Cocoa Culture in Major Producing Countries: Some Important Factors
Sidebar: Constructive Cocoa Elsewhere: A Few Examples

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