International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
[From the Executive Summary] …The objective of the research was to generate future climate scenarios to predict the impact of climate change on the suitability to grow cocoa of the main growing regions of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
…The analysis focused on the specific regions where cocoa is currently-grown. The study used predictions of the future climate to predict the suitability of current cocoa-growing areas to continue growing it by 2030 and 2050. The current optimum altitude for cocoa is 100–250 meters above sea level (masl), which will increase to 450–500 masl by 2050, compensating for the increase in temperature due to a climate change.
Worldwide, large cocoa plantations are in regions where the mean temperature ranges from 22–25C. In the cocoa-growing areas of the Brazilian Amazon for example, temperatures are 22–30C(Dias, 2001),while in Ghana’s cocoa-growing regions they are 24–29C (Dormon et al., 2004).
The changes in suitability as climate change occurs are site-specific. There will be areas that become unsuitable for cocoa (Lagunes and Sud-Comoe in Côte d’Ivoire), where farmers will need to identify alternative crops. There will be areas that remain suitable for cocoa, but only when the farmers adapt their agronomic management to the new conditions the area will experience. There will also be areas where suitability of cocoa increases (Kwahu Plateu, between Eastern and Ashanti regions in Ghana). Finally, there will be areas where today no cocoa is grown but which in the future will become suitable (18 Montagnes in Côte d’Ivoire). We did not consider using the protected areas (such as forest reserves) as available for cocoa cultivation, however, to avoid promoting clearing forests or invasion of protected areas for new cocoa areas. Climate change brings not only bad news but also a lot of potential opportunities. The winners will be those who are prepared for change and know how to adapt. [H/T: Climate Wire, sub. req'd]