The third technical meeting in preparation for the Dominican Cacao Plantations Agroforestry Rehabilitation Plan (PRACAO) was held on 23 November on the premises of the Comisión Nacional del Cacao (union of cocoa exporters), the main partner in dialogue with the Dominican government.
In the two previous workshops, the partners involved had confirmed their participation and the proposed structure, drawing up a working plan and setting out key stages. Lastly, an initial summary of the available nationwide data was drawn up and the stakeholders undertook to provide the missing data required to complete the picture. This third meeting had five main objectives:
- To secure approval of the justification and introductory stage of the PRACAO initiative by the institutions involved;
- To summarise the data collected and validate the data sources, in particular where conflicting data had arisen;
- To decide on the geographical scope of the PRACAO initiative at province level and establish the criteria used to prioritise the intervention stages on a province-by-province basis;
- To decide on the selection criteria for the cocoa producers qualifying for support from PRACAO and establish the priority producer groups;
- To explain and discuss Cacao Forest’s proposed methodology regarding both the creation of new agroforestry plantations on previously unforested land and the rehabilitation of senescent cacao plantations.
Representatives of the PRACAO technical committee
The meeting was chaired by the Cacao Forest project’s science coordinator Olivier Deheuvels (CIRAD), with the support of the general coordinator Sebastián Cárdenas (EF). It was attended by 14 participants representing 10 partner institutions (the Ministry of Agriculture’s Department of Cacao, the producer cooperatives COOPROAGRO and CONACADO, the large-scale commercial producer and exporter Rizek Cacao and the FUPAROCA foundation, IDIAF, CEDAF, and UNEV and ISA Universities).
The meeting achieved its objectives and the participants agreed to hold a fourth workshop on 14 December 2022 to discuss the legal aspects of inclusion in the scheme and the use of trees from cacao plantations for timber. This workshop will include representatives from the Dominican Ministry of the Environment’s Department of Forest Resources. The main points for discussion at the next workshop will include the selection of appropriate agroforestry models for the different areas and the preparation of an initial set up providing the mechanisms used to coordinate and monitor PRACAO’s activities.
Workshops to establish PRACAO will continue during the first half of 2023, and two important dates have already been set: workshop number five, to be held on 12 January, and the official event to present the PRACAO initiative, organised by the AFD to coincide with the fifth Cacao Forest project local monitoring committee (CSL) meeting on 19 January 2023.