The Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie has reiterated the commitment of the Commission to help reduce carbon emissions in Cocoa-forest landscapes through the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme (GCFRP).
Speaking during a courtesy call on him by the Global Director of Mondelez International, Mr Afriyie said ensuring improved livelihoods of cocoa farmers was key in the Commission’s programme to reduce carbon emissions.
The Forestry Commission has signed a Memorandum of Understanding under which Mondelez International is contributing $5 million over five years to the GCFRP, which aims to significantly reduce the high rate of deforestation and forest degradation, as well as their associated greenhouse carbon emissions, from cocoa farming within Ghana's High Forest Zone.
Other partners to the deal are the Ghana Cocoa Board and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The partners would together promote appropriate climate smart cocoa production systems to increase yields and improve rural livelihoods.
Specifically, the focus would be on mapping all land uses, including cocoa farms, implementing climate smart cocoa practices to increase yields and sustainability, improving access to finance to foster good practices by farmers and communities and legislative and policy reform to support programme execution.
Ghana supplies about 20 per cent of the world's cocoa. According to the GCFRP, Ghana also has one of the highest deforestation rates in Africa at 3.2 per cent per annum. This is primarily due to unsustainable expansion of cocoa and other agricultural crops.
Mr Afriyie said the MoU was a demonstration between the two institutions to promote the well-being of the cocoa farmers, Ms Cathy Pieters, Director, Cocoa Programmes Mondelez International, said Mondelez’s goal is to foster a sustainable cocoa supply chain through good environmental practices and farmers welfare.
Mrs Roselyn Adjei, the Head, Climate Change Unit at the Forestry Commission, said it mainly targets cocoa growing areas in high forest zone of Ghana, adding that, through the programme, farmers would be encouraged to adopt smart ways of increasing their yields by intensification and other good practices instead of expansion of their farms. Agriculture expansion is one of the key drivers of deforestation.
Mrs Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, Country Lead, Mondelez Cocoa Life Ghana Programme, said Cocoa Life aims to ensure a sustainable supply chain and to ensure that famers were empowered. Currently, the programme is being run in 447 communities, spread in four of the cocoa regions, excluding the Volta Region.