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October 2020 | Hand pollination, or agrochemical intensification for improving cocoa yields?

Aktualisiert: Okt 14


Student from Tadulako University, in Palu, conducting hand pollination in cocoa trees


Cocoa stakeholders across the globe face the challenge of finding alternative strategies to conventional agriculture for sustainable cocoa production.


In a study conducted in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, GAN members contrasted hand pollination, as an alternative to fertilizers and insecticides, for boosting yields. They found that hand pollination of 13% of tree flowers increase dry bean weight by 51%. In contrast to hand pollination, yields did not increment by applying fertilizers and insecticides.


Further, authors found that hand pollination of the entire tree (100 % tree flowers) increased yields by 161% and farmer income by up to 69%, after accounting for labor and farm operational costs. This underlines the high benefits of hand pollination for improving cocoa productivity at the farm level.


Final conclusions highlight the necessity of long-term and inter-continental experiments to elucidate the true potential of hand pollination and natural pollination for cocoa sustainable production.


The full paper is available here:


Original publication: Toledo-Hernández, M., Tscharntke, T., Tjoa, A., Anshary, A., Cyio, B., & Wanger, T. C. (2020). Hand pollination, not pesticides or fertilizers, increases cocoa yields and farmer income. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 304, 107160.

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