CocoaSoils project takes off

Published on
June 19, 2018

A wide variety of research plans was drafted during the first CocoaSoils planning meeting.

The CocoaSoils project is a collaborative research and development project that focuses on integrated soil fertility management in cocoa plantations. The project, led by IITA, Wageningen University, and IDH, is set up around a number of randomised, intensively managed NPK response trials, and aims to fill the gaps in our knowledge of cocoa nutrition.

In the first planning meeting, the research partners convened in Wageningen do decide on the research plans for the first year of the project. The nursery and establishment phase of the field trials offer many interesting opportunities for research on nutrient management and the physiology of cocoa seedlings. In addition, the project focuses on innovative methods in data collection, which are currently being developed.

In addition to the data collected from the core trials, four African PhD students will carry out their research within the CocoaSoils project, each focusing on a different topic. The students are enrolled in Wageningen, and will defend their thesis here. One student will focus particularly on integrated soil fertility management. The second student will do an in-depth study of cocoa physiology in relation to plant nutrition. The third student will look at the possibilities and risks of cocoa expansion, and the effects of climate change. Student four will focus on the translation of knowledge to farmers, using so-called 'decision support systems'. The students will be supervised by a number of researchers from the Plant Production Systems group and the Crop Systems Analysis group from Wageningen University, in collaboration with advisors from IITA, CIAT, and ICRAF.

The CocoaSoils project is expected to offer many additional research opportunities in various fields, including plant physiology, soil science, plant nutrition, impact studies, ecology, and others.

For more information and possibilities for participation, see the CocoaSoils website.