Published November 27, 2023 | Version v1
Publication Open

Farmer's perception of development opportunities of cacao agroforestry in growing cocoa-producing districts of Uganda.

  • 1. UMR ABSys, CIRAD, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire,
  • 2. UMR ABSys, CIRAD, Montpellier, France,
  • 3. NaCORI-NARO, Kampala, Uganda,
  • 4. International Trade Centre, Kampala, Uganda,
  • 5. International Trade Centre, Geneva, Switzerland,
  • 6. Shoreline Services Limited, Kampala, Uganda,


Cacao farming in Uganda has been rapidly expanding over the past 20 years, as shown by exports growing from 2.130 metric tons (MT) of commercial cocoa in 2001, to 35.000 MT in the year 2020. Most of the national production is still dominated by Bundibugyo district, where the majority of the country's estimated 80,000 – 100,000 smallholder farmers are located. The high demand for Uganda's cocoa driving a rather high and steady farm-gate price for the product, has triggered the interest of many new farmers in several other districts. Farmers that have been devoted to coffee and staple-crop production are now starting to plant cacao in different proportions in a mixed/intercrop design on their farms. Though the contribution of these "pioneer farmers" to national production is still minor, the new cacao-planted areas are quickly expanding with a growing number of farmers experimenting cacao cultivation each year. The trend draws heavily on both farmers' experiences in other perennial crops - mainly coffee, and Uganda's long experience on cocoa - derived mainly from the Bundibugyo experience - with established cocoa cropping practices and crop associations promoted by extension services. This combination arouses some interesting opportunities for development of novel and efficient context-related cacao cropping systems combining cacao with other crops or trees in cacao-based agroforestry systems. 

In the framework of the "Market Access Upgrade Program" (MARKUP), two surveys were conducted in Uganda to explore (i) the characteristics of the current cocoa production sector, (ii) its potential for development and (iii) the agronomical innovations experimented on farms. One of the main objectives of the survey was to assess the variety of cropping practices used by cocoa farmers, in both historical cocoa production areas and more recent "pioneering" areas, looking for opportunities to support the development of the production sector based on economically and environmentally sustainable cropping systems and management practices. 

This paper presents some of the salient results produced from this survey. Firstly, (i) the present situation of cocoa farming in Uganda is described through a typology of cocoa-farms and farms commencing a cacao activity. Secondly, (ii) a summary of the actual agroforestry practices found in those various farms-types is presented. Finally, (iii) the results from a consultation of farmers on SWOT analysis, about the development of cocoa components on their farms, are discussed. The results reveal some interesting insights into various innovative agronomic strategies deployed by smallholder farmers experimenting cocoa production in Uganda. 

Keywords: Uganda, Agroforestry, Cropping practices


Files (319.5 kB)

Name Size Download all
319.5 kB Download