Young trees need shade to reduce irradiance, to buffer the micro-environment and to achieve the right shape and habit of the trees. Once the canopy has closed, the need for shade is reduced.
Only under most favourable conditions of soil and nutrient supply can cocoa be grown without shade. It is normally necessary to retain some shade to reduce moisture stress and incidence of insect and fungus damage in order to prolong the economic life of plantations.
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