To redress deforestation problems in cocoa, oil palm and rubber landscapes, the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA), in partnership with the Forestry Commission has engaged stakeholders on how to fuel implementation of the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme (GCFRP).
The Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme, is a strategy set by government to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation over the next 20 years, whilst at the same time addressing threats that undermine ecosystem services and environmental integrity.
The strategy believes in building resilient landscapes and livelihoods, therefore, highlights the profits of non-carbon benefits such as improved forest governance.
Mr Joseph Lumumba, the Africa Regional Coordinator, TFA, said even though there were various commitments by individual bodies to tackle problems of deforestation in the landscapes, the canker was still left unsolved because it needed a collective effort on the part of stakeholders.
The objective of the workshop, he said, was therefore to drive collective action to accelerate implementation of GCFRP especially in the areas of design and architecture by mobilising the private sector to deliberate for sustainable solutions.
Mr Lumumba called on government to facilitate the engagement of the private sector to support the implementation of the programme and redirect some extension programmes to landscapes within their jurisdictions.
Mr Raymond Kofi Sakyi, a representative from the Climate Change Directorate, Forestry Commission, said over the years, the country had experienced environmental depletion activities such as logging, mining, and agricultural expansion in the cocoa, oil palm and rubber landscape, that negatively affected the environment.
"Many farmers also don't carry out cocoa smart farm practices and expand cocoa production into forest reserves, which had led to a drastic drop in cocoa yielding."
A more intensive implementation of the GCFRP, would thus, help to stop the expansion of cocoa into forest reserves and increase cocoa yield on same piece of land, he noted.
Mr Sakyi said the Forestry Commission had also undertaken interventions such as establishing plantation in degraded forest reserves and 'Youth in Afforestation' programmes to control the canker.
He recommended that interventions like planting shade trees in farms, enriching planting, introducing climate smart production systems, rehabilitating forest reserves and enforcing laws governing forest reserves be employed to develop the sector.
On the implementation frameworks, he suggested that sector agencies and developmental partners adopt strategies like reinforced governance, carbon accounting especially to donor agencies, monitoring of national forest by concerned agencies and adopting of feedback and grievance redress mechanisms.
Mr Kwabena Twumasi, Technical Advisor, GIZ, said the GIZ was implementing a project called, "Forestry Landscape Restoration through a Sustainable Wood Energy Value Chain," to reduce the pressures put on forest reserves.
Under the project, the GIZ sought to rehabilitate degraded forests and reduce demand on forest especially by charcoal producers by giving them alternate sources like woodlots to produce charcoal.
It also introduced improved cook stoves that uses less quantity of charcoal as another intervention to protect forest reserves, he said.
The project partners are the Ministry of Energy, the Forestry Commission, the Energy Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the IUCN Netherlands.
The workshop was attended by stakeholders from cocoa and palm oil production and donor institutions like GIZ, Africa Development Bank, Olam Ghana, Wilmar Africa, SIAT, UNDP, and Forestry Commission.