FCIA Fine Chocolate Glossary


Shade is the screen or shelter provided to help reduce the intensity or direct impact of the sun.

At the nursery, shade can be provided using local materials such as bamboo, palm fronds or shade nets.

In the field, temporary shade can be provided to shade loving seedlings and saplings. These can be temporary trees or food crops for example. Permanent shade on the other hand provides shade over the long term. It is of importance that permanent shade does not overshadow, does not hold too much water, and is not too close to the canopy of the cacao tree.

What kind of shade you need depends on the locality and the given sunlight hours. In Ecuador, as Jerry Toth of To’ak Chocolate explains, a rule of thumb is that the cacao tree needs 70% shade and 30% in the first few years. When it reaches productive age, which is normally around year 4, it is optimal to revert it and provide 30% shade and 70% shade instead.

Próximamente versión en español

Temporary shade; photo courtesy of Selasse Gidiglo

Permanent shade; photo courtesy of Selasse Gidiglo

Learn more from “Shade” author Selasse Gidiglo and other experts in this FCIA webinar

Entry added: March 7, 2023
Verified on: September 14, 2023

Authored by

Selasse Gidiglo, Senior Officer – Farm Intelligence and Innovations
Agricultural professional


Sustainable Agriculture Standard Glossary,” Rainforest Alliance (accessed on February 28, 2023).

The role of shade trees in influencing farmers’ adoption of cocoa agroforestry systems: Insight from semi-deciduous rain forest agroecological zone of Ghana,” Kaba, James S., Alexander Otu-Nyanteh and Akwasi A. Abunyewa, NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, December 2020.

Shading the cocoa trees for people and nature,” Praise Nutakor, UNDP, June 4, 2021.

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