The Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) 2020 Africa Palm Oil Initiative, held its fourth regional meeting in Accra with a call on members to collaborate to ensure the sustainable development of the palm oil sector.
The Africa Palm Oil Initiative (APOI) is TFA 2020’s first Signature Initiative. Its goal is to help transition the palm oil sector in West and Central Africa to become a sustainable driver of long-term, low-carbon development in a way that is socially beneficial and protects the tropical forests of the region.
Organised by Proforest on behalf of the TFA 2020, the Africa Palm Oil Initiative (APOI) meeting was to share learning from the APOI experience and build public-private partnerships for responsible oil palm development throughout the region.
It brought together key stakeholders from relevant commodity sectors throughout West and Central Africa, including members of the public and private sectors from the APOI country teams, as well as other stakeholders with an interest and commitment to achieve deforestation-free commodity supply chains.
Delivering the keynote address at the meeting, Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obasek called on African governments to collaborate to reverse the worrying trend of deforestation on the continent.
He said Africa’s forests were under pressure from agricultural production and every effort must be made to protect the rich biodiversity of plant and animal species.
It is in this direction that a 16-member forestry advisory committee had been constituted to streamline the management of forestry assets and structure by the state’s Forestry Commission.
Mr Obaseki said that the state was developing robust forestry management structures to ensure the conservation of biodiversity even as oil palm plantations expanded their operations.
The state was also creating an enabling environment for investment into the expansion of oil palm plantations in line with international regulations.
The Director of Tropical Forest Alliance for 2020, Mr Marco Albani, called on government to invest in agro-forestry, which involved the incorporation of tree cultivation in the agricultural process.
Proforest is in collaboration with the TFA and a number of national and sub-national governments to rally support for the “reduction of rampant destruction of forests and find ways to generate better revenue from it.”
Mr Abraham Baffoe, Africa Regional Director of Proforest, said the meeting was meant to assess the progress that had been made to protect Africa’s rich tropical forests from increasing pressure from agricultural production.
“In order to achieve deforestation-free commodity supply chains, and balance economic development in the region, it is vital that we act collectively: ranging from government, to the private sector, civil society and indigenous and community groups. The work of the TFA 2020, such as the Africa Palm Oil Initiative, is an important step towards this,” he said.