Organic cocoa plantations are established in association with banana to provide shade. The bananas are retained as a component of the mature plantation, alongside other fruit and shade-producing species. Leaves and flowers that droping from shade trees, as well as undergrowth that is cleared at the end of the dry season and left in situ, act as a mulch. The organic mulches help prevent soil erosion and retain soil moisture.
Cocoa is a deep-rooted species that is resilient to tropical storms. Because it is a permanent plantation, organic cocoa captures carbon and is relatively resistant to drought. The fruit trees provide a diversity of produce over the course of the year, including export crops, such as cashew nut, cinnamon, golden apple (Spondias mombin), and soursop (Annona muricata). Thus organic cocoa is an integrated, climate-smart farm system that provides benefits related to production, adaptation, and mitigation.
Organic cocoa production also has benefits for the wider economy and helps raise awareness of climate change issues. The Grenada Organic Cocoa Farmers Co-operative Society consists of about 12 farmers who have received organic certification through the German company Ceres. They have formed a strategic partnership with the Grenada Chocolate Company, using local labor to make premium quality dark organic chocolate for export and to supply the tourism industry. Cocoa production and processing facilities are themselves a tourist attraction and are becoming part of the wider agritourism experience offered on some Grenadine estates.