Published November 28, 2023 | Version v1
Publication Open

Fish farming as a way for diversifying sources of income in the cocoa sector in Côte d'Ivoire

  • 1. APDRA Pisciculture Paysanne, Massy, France
  • 2. CIRAD, UMR ISEM, Montpellier, France
  • 3. ISEM, Université de Montpellier, CNRS, EPHE, IRD, Montpellier, France
  • 4. Université Paris-Saclay, INRAE, AgroParisTech, GABI, Jouy-en-Josas, France
  • 5. IPSIM, Université de Montpellier, CNRS, INRAE, Institut SupAgro, Montpellier, France
  • 6. Laboratoire de Biodiversité et Ecologie Tropicale, Université Jean Lorougnon Guédé, Daloa, Côte d'Ivoire


Côte d'Ivoire is the largest producer of cocoa in the world, with production reaching 2 million tonnes in 2016-2017. The South- and Central-West regions are the main cocoa production areas in the country. However, cocoa production faces a significant crisis due to the instability of prices on world markets, land saturation, ageing plantations, and climate change. Cocoa farmers have adopted fish farming as an additional production to generate new incomes. The objective of our study was to provide the first description of cocoa production diversification practices in Côte d'Ivoire through targeted questionnaires. Surveys were conducted from May 2021 to September 2021 with cocoa farmers practising fish farming in two localities of Central-West: Bédiala (n = 21) and Sinfra (n = 12) and one in South-West: Méagui (n = 12). We used an empirical approach to highlight the farming practices. Our first results showed that all the cocoa farmers interviewed in Bédiala and 67% of the cocoa farmers in Sinfra practice fish-rice farming in which rice and tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) are cultivated in the same ponds. In addition, the cocoa plantations in Bédiala (90%) and Sinfra (75%) are characterised by the association of cocoa and cashew for shading cocoa plants. Among the cocoa farmers interviewed in the South-West region, 50% of them practise fish-rice farming, with the monoculture of cocoa. With incomes ranging between 300 to 6000 kFCFA per year, fish farming has become the primary source of revenues for 30%, 40%, and 5% of cocoa farmers in Bédiala, Sinfra, and Méagui, respectively. In such agriculture-aquaculture integrated systems, most of the farmers use the periphery of the ponds in the dry season as cocoa nurseries, which allows the young crops to benefit from fertilised pond water collected by their roots. Such practices are likely to enhance crop growth while reducing the watering effort. In addition, fish ponds act as a natural barrier against bush fires. These results highlight the positive interactions that exist between cocoa and fish farming. Nevertheless, the consequences of using phytosanitary products in cacao production near fish ponds remain to be assessed for human consumers and surrounding environments. Based on a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) analysis, we explore the possibilities that may be more promising for cocoa production diversification in Côte d'Ivoire.

Keywords: Aquaculture, cocoa farming, diversification


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