Reducing Land Degradation and Increasing Income for Cacao Farmers in Toledo Through the Production and Use of Biochar
Reducing Land Degradation and Increasing Income for Cacao Farmers in Toledo Through the Production and Use of Biochar
The goal of the project is to introduce the use of technology and improved sustainable agricultural practices to minimize land degradation and improve livelihood conditions through the use of Biochar. The importance of maximizing use of land resources and developing a sustainable product not only reduces pressure on competing land uses but addresses cross cutting issues such as poverty alleviation, livelihood, youths and gender.
1.4 Description of Project Activities

Output (Objective) 1. 5 Kilns are assembled and installed in 2 communities and are working effectively.
• Register first 5 farmers selected to learn installation of kilns. Project Coordinator will register the farmers and identify appropriate locations for the kilns. The locations for the kilns will be cleared and leveled for operation without interference and with ample space for maneuvering and training.
• The Kilns and accessories will then be transported from the TCGA storage ware house where they were stored after importation from the United Kingdom. Transportation will require at least 5 man labors especially traversing over logs, branches and roots in the cacao farm. During installation 2 burns will be performed. This is to ensure that the kilns have been installed properly.

Output (Objective) 2. 10 Farmers are trained in the operation of kilns and production of Bio char and are earning an income from sale of carbon credit.
• 10 Farmers are selected to be trained in the operation of the kilns and production of biochar for the crop trials. A training schedule will be developed so that only two farmers are available during 1 training session. This will ensure that the trained farmer have the opportunity to practice while being trained.
• During the Training sessions the following will be observed:
o Step 1: Teach farmers in material collection (use of chainsaws, choice of material, size of material – 1 day
o Step 2: Teach the farmers how to use the kilns (2 burns) – 4 days
o Step 3: Teach the farmers about removing biochar from the Kiln, storage and crushing – 1 day
• A total of 6 working days will be utilized for 1 training session of 2 farmers.

Output (Objective) 3. The crop (farm) trail and nursery plan designed and manual produced are transferred to farmers via 5 focus group session.
• The crop trails will be established in two communities: San Antonio - Mr. Romula Cal, Mr. Justianio Bol, San Jose at Felipe Wook, Eventir Cal and Justino Peck. The selection of these farmers is a result of the type of trees they are presently working with (young trees, rejuvenated trees, and producing trees)
• Carbon Gold’s Agronomist Marco Figueroa will design the crop trials, providing detail information suitable application ratios of biochar and will be responsible to conduct first trials with farmers. It is expected that during this process approximately 8 tons of biochar will be utilized in addition to 1 ton of organic fertilizers and 38 liters of EM.
• The Agronomist will develop baseline data and data gathering mechanism, followed by a suitable monitoring programme.
• A nursery that can house at least 2000 cacao seedlings will be constructed. The soil to be used will include various mixture of biochar and other organic components. This is necessary to augment plant growth as well as record effective use of biochar with other component.
• 3 focus group sessions will be conducted in San Jose and 2 in San Antonio to teach the 10 participating farmers on adaptation of the plan. Information sharing through, leaflets, flyers will be developed for reference while adopting the plan. These 10 farmers (known as promoters) will also be tasked to transfer knowledge acquired to at least 10 new farmers. The focus group session will involve power point presentations and practical including biochar mixing.

Output (Objective) 4. 3 ha of cacao farm selected and used as demonstration plot on use of biochar and are monitored.
• Ten (10) participating farmers will collect biomass (primarily cacao branches from pruning of cacao farm) and cut them according to kiln requirement. The availability of pruning materials will be made possible by TCGA’s pruning teams through a rehabilitation project financed by the European Union.
• The augmented crop trials on 3 ha of cacao farm will follow on from the positive results of the early stage trials with more extensive trials using biochar enhanced with locally sourced organic materials. The key components to this stage are the trial design, monitoring programme, fertilizer formulation and application methodologies. The results of the trials will provide credible data which can be used to further expand the use of biochar with both cacao and other crops. The information will be passed on to farmers giving better understanding of the most effective methods of application and general use
• Secondly, 5 Char crushers will be built to crush chars for mixing with organic fertilizers and Effective Mirco Organisms (EM). Prior to application labour will be utilized to clean leaf litter around drip line on 3 ha of cacao. Equipment’s (Chainsaws, testers) and Safety gears (shovels, boots, and hats) will be provide to 10 farmers for use in the crop trials.
• A baseline data (control point) will be used to measure any further progress of the trial plots. The Project management team and farmers will work together to gather data, monitoring and presentation of information. All actions of the team on the trail plots, will be documented in order to improve future trial plots. After analysis of the information gathered, TCGA will develop user friendly information sheet to be distributed to farmers since biochar production and application on farm is expected to continue after the completion of the project. This intervention of the project is very important as the outcome of the trail will have to be presented and analysed carefully in order to measure the success of the project. Data gathering and presentation will also demonstrate how effective (not) the use of biochar.

Output (Objective) 5. 5 Training/workshop/exchange sessions conducted to 40 farmers on use of biochar.
• 5 Training workshops will be conducted to 40 farmers on use of bio char. These training workshops will be a combination of class room presentation and practical using the Farmer Field School method. Farmers will be mobilized between communities and amongst trail plots.
• Participants will also partake in the monitoring program me through data gathering of trail plots (size of pods, weight of harvest, size of beans and number of pods per tree).
• A demonstration day will be held where farmers can view existing farms using biochar as well as the kilns in use
• Manuals, leaflets and flyers shared with participants

Output (Objective) 6. Project effectively and efficiently managed and information adequately disseminated.
• Project Coordinator and TCGA will present the Bio Char project at the Toledo Annual Organic Food Fair, the National Agriculture and Trade Show, and University of Belize Earth Day activity in an effort to promote the project.
• Merchandising of product to disseminate information on the Bio Char project (T-Shirts, Folders etc.).

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Project Snapshot

Toledo Cacao Growers Association
Area Of Work:
Land Degradation
Grant Amount:
US$ 49,582.50
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 64,475.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 9,037.50
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed


Carbon Gold

Grantee Contact

Mr. Armando Choco
Phone: 501-722-2992


Main Street
Punta Gorda , LAC ,

SGP Country office contact

Mr. Leonel Requena
(501) 822-2462


UNDP Belize,3rd Floor, Lawrence Nicholas Building Complex ,P.O. Box 53,South Ring Road,
Belmopan, Central America