Our Work

 

CLIMATE CHANGE MODELING

To ensure the long term success of native cacao in Peru, climate change must be considered. As a starting point for other aspects of the FFC project, our scientists tested climate models for accuracy regarding the current distribution of cacao in Peru and then projected those distributions into the future. Check out their results here! The good news? Cacao can remain a significant crop in Peru despite the uncertainties that slimate change imposes. The catch? It will take good ecological and genetic management.

ECOSYSTEM SERVICES

Bats, birds, ants, spiders, and more! A high level of biodiversity is a fundamental tenant of any thriving and sustainable agroforestry system. Researchers on the FFC project are using an array of methods to establish a baseline of biodiversity in fine & flavor cacao agroforests. They are also investigating what management conditions promote this biodiversity and what ecosystem services, like pollination and biological pest control, are provided by which species. 

PLANTATION DESIGN & GENETIC RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

Much of the native cacao being grown today is on unmanaged plantations and features little genetic diversity. FFC researchers are developing a large data base for the genetic diversity of native cacao, selecting promising varieties, and generating living gene banks. How are they doing this (trees do indeed take a while to grow) ?  They’re grafting more genetically diverse trees onto healthy, mature plantations! While they’re at it, other aspects of plantation design are being considered, like shade management. Meanwhile, locals are learning how to graft for themselves!

MARKET DEVELOPMENT & CAPACITY BUILDING

With all of the scientific developments underway, the market for fine & flavor cacao has to keep up. Development specialists are working with indvidual cacao growers as well as regional cooperatives to develop training systems on the proper harvesting, drying, and fermenting techniques for native cacao. The FFC team is also facilitating the relationship between future growers and future buyers by leading conversations on quality assurance and price. The FFC project is also working at the international level to get the unique native varieties of Peruvian cacao the classification and attention that they deserve.