How to launch a reforestation dynamic to fight against intensive deforestation: agroforestry in Togo 

Article du 6 October 2022

With the advanced degradation of agroecosystems favorable to coffee and cocoa crops in Togo, it is essential to develop sustainable solutions that can not only promote reforestation of the area but also improve ecosystem services to the population.   


What approach to develop sustainable solutions at the local level: the case of agroforestry?  

What is agroforestry?  

Let’s start by defining agroforestry. It is land use systems and technologies where perennial woody plants (trees, shrubs, palms, bamboo, etc.) are used on the same plots as agricultural crops and animals, in some form of spatial arrangement or temporal sequence. 

How does agroforestry work with the UTCC? 

In Togo, the Unité Technique Café-Cacao (UTCC) promotes coffee and cocoa agroforestry, which allows coffee or cocoa trees to be associated with various agroforestry species on the same plot.   

These species are chosen by local farmers for several reasons:  

The quality of the shade they provide 

The improvement of soil fertility  

  • Conservation and supply of quality wood (timber and energy wood).  

In addition, between 2019 and 2020, a study on the carbon sequestration capacities of coffee and cocoa agroforests was conducted, revealing the potential of these agroforests to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases, undeniable proof of their economic and environmental value.   

  • Concrete actions for a better production of goods, biodiversity and carbon storage    

Since 2017, an agreement was signed between Kinomé, the Coffee-Cocoa Technical Unit of the Institute of Consulting and Technical Support (ICAT/UTCC) and the Forestry Research Laboratory of the University of Lomé (LRF/UL) with the aim of supporting ecosystem services in coffee and cocoa agroforests in terms of goods production, biodiversity and carbon storage. This gave birth to the OPASASE project (Optimization of Agroforest Production by Supporting the Improvement of Ecosystem Services in the Forest Zone of Togo) 

  • Nearly 200,000 trees planted with our partners  

The activities carried out within the framework of this project have made it possible to plant, with the support of  

the Forest&Life Movement, more than 17,750 trees, with ORESYS, more than 14,000 and with ReforestAction, more than 180,000 trees of several species such as Samanea saman, Albizzia adianthifolia, Albizzia lebbeck, Albizia zygia… In addition, the project subsidizes the free supply of agroforestry and fruit plants for the farmers 

  • Training and support for local farmers to stop intensive deforestation  

Support is also provided to farmers in their agroforestry practices to boost the reforestation process in the region by planting trees in coffee and cocoa plantations as well as in bare areas. By facilitating access to plants used in agroforestry, the project is convinced to stop intensive deforestation and to launch a reforestation dynamic by involving the first actors of deforestation: producers of cash crops such as coffee and cocoa.   

  • Results:  

Since 2020, priority has been given to reforesting at-risk areas: mountain slopes denuded by anarchic logging, galleries along rivers under high demographic pressure where deforestation is an alarming phenomenon with the search for firewood, marginal lands and community forests: more than 70,000 plants reforested in 2022. The objective is also to identify successful experiences in the activities carried out since 2017 that will be integrated into disseminable records.  

Ultimately, each year since 2017, UTCC has been monitoring the production of agroforestry seedlings, training beneficiaries in the conduct of agroforestry seedlings (30 women and 11 organizations in 2022), supporting the distribution of agroforestry seedlings, and monitoring the planting of the seedlings. The planters are satisfied as Mr. Abalo TANI testifies:  

“I thank the initiators of the Kinomé project and Reforest’Action for this opportunity they are giving us to produce agroforestry plants and to use them to shade our coffee and cocoa plantations where vegetation fires have decimated almost all the natural species. These plants will also be used for reforestation of bare land and will have a positive effect on the climate. Once again, thank you to Kinomé, Reforest’Acion, the State, UTCC and the technicians. 

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