Recommendation domains to scale out climate change adaptation in cocoa production in Ghana

Christian Bunn*, Peter Läderach, Amos Quaye, Sander Muilerman, Martin R.A. Noponen, Mark Lundy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change is threatening cocoa production in West Africa and guidance towards site-specific adaptation is required. We developed recommendation domains with common degree of impact requiring incremental, systemic or incremental adaptation effort to provide decision support for interventions to scale out adaptive practices. We used Random Forests to divide the cocoa production belt into four zones with distinct climatic features under current and future climate conditions. To make model results actionable we used an expert validation approach. Cocoa experts evaluated and verified cocoa occurrence data for model input, prioritized climate and soil variables for modeling use and confirmed the validity of the distribution of climate zones. Climate change will reduce the available area for cocoa production in the north due to a shift of the northern transition to the Savanna zone. The current area for cocoa in central Ashanti will remain suitable but will face uncertain climatic conditions. Areas in the Western, Central and Eastern regions will likely become hotter and wetter. Each of these projected impacts will require site-specific adaptation strategies matching the degree of impacts. Failing to prepare may subject rural communities to high risks of losing their livelihoods. Our recommendation domains can support impact specific preparation so that the majority of Ghana's cocoa production area may be sustained despite adverse climatic changes. Institutional and private actors can use our work to scale out locally conceived interventions to alleviate impacts from drought, heat and erratic rainfall.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100123
JournalClimate Services
Early online date20 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Climate impacts
  • Cocoa
  • Decision support
  • Ghana
  • Recommendation domains
  • West Africa


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