The annual interdisciplinary conference on research in tropical and subtropical agriculture, natural resource management and rural development (TROPENTAG) was held from September, 18 – 20 2019 in Kassel Germany. Under the theme ‘Filling gaps and removing traps for sustainable resource development’, the event demonstrated the importance of identifying and implementing sustainable initiatives in order to enhance food security and natural resource management. Tropentag 2019 summarizes recent disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches that address gaps from various fields, with different methodological approaches and regional foci. This year’s conference brought together a total of 726 participants from 74 countries engaged in agricultural research and rural development. It addressed issues of agriculture, resource management, environment, forestry, fisheries, food, nutrition and related sciences in the context of rural development, sustainable resource use and poverty alleviation worldwide. Discussions were held in plenary, as well as guided poster sessions and workshops to provide new ideas on enhancing the scientific and practical success in promoting sustainable resource management in sub and tropical regions.

At this year’s conference, two representatives from the CocoaSoils program participated in the poster exhibition and made presentations on some of their research findings under the project. Abigail Tettey, the Research Assistant, working on the Core Trials in Ghana, participated in the poster exhibition and presented a paper on the “The Role of Agroforestry in Sustainable Intensification of Cocoa Growing Systems Across West Africa: A Review”. Her presentation highlighted the extent of agroforestry in cocoa-growing systems, the multifunctional role of cocoa agroforestry and the existing challenges.

Click here to see her presentation.

Urcil Kenfack, a PhD Candidate at the University of Wageningen, working on Decision Support Tools on the CocoaSoils program also made an oral presentation on the theme, “Towards Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) practices to increase Cocoa productivity in Cameroon”. His presentation focused on an exploratory study aimed at investigating cocoa farmers’ understanding of soil fertility management.

The findings indicate that cocoa farmers are not always aware of the importance of soil fertility management which they consider as less important compared to other cocoa farming practices for increasing yield. Both financial and non-financial reasons are stated by farmers to justify the non-use of soil fertility technology (fertilizers, manure, compost). He concluded that there is a need for raising awareness at farmers’ level, to promote integrated cocoa farming practices, and develop profitable ISFM recommendations while taking measures that guarantee access to inputs and high return on investment.

Click here for his presentation.

The participation of both Abigail and Urcil at this year’s conference is vital to the course of the CocoaSoils Program, as we continue to contribute to the discourse on Cocoa Agroforestry in Ghana and West Africa.

Contribution by: Abigail Tettey
Urcil Kenfack Essougong