The World is Falling in Love with Ghana Cocoa All Over Again Because of This New Climate-Smart Initiative
This is what the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme is going to deliver.
Consumers of cocoa products across the world have increasingly become aware of negative issues relating to the sourcing of the raw material for their favourite snacking food.
A Farmgate Cocoa Alliance 2018 study established that over 79 percent of consumers are aware of sustainability issues – mainly low farmer income, environmental degradation and child labour.
This awareness escalated to action giving wind to the sustainable sourcing campaign.
The objective of this global sustainability campaign seeks to ensure that the cocoa beans that end up as your chocolate bar or hot chocolate drink, and a lot other products, is not cultivated by children, that the farmer earns a livable income, cocoa communities have access to basic services and also that cocoa cultivation is not adversely affecting forests and the environment.
As a commitment to holding manufacturers to the principle of sustainability in cocoa sourcing, consumers moved to pay an incentive premium for certified sustainable cocoa and chocolate products.
According to the report 78 percent of consumers actually buy the more expensive sustainably sourced cocoa products on the grounds of supporting farmers, cocoa communities and to protect the environment.
Consumers Demand Action
A rather strong indication from consumers in that study was the fact they wouldn’t be willing to continue paying premium prices for products if the efforts demonstrated no clear demonstrable impact on sustainability.
That message was well-received by the cocoa value chain prompting a number of collaborative approaches to promoting sustainability at all levels.
Ghana, the world’s second-largest cocoa producer nation, has received plaudits for its response in addressing sustainability challenges over the years.
But the government of Ghana and the country’s cocoa sector regulator, Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) will not rest on their oars. Cocobod has led the charge in a new set of interventions to be rolled-out effective this month.
Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme
Christened the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme, it is a series of interventions aimed at promoting a climate-smart cocoa production regime in the West African nation.
On October, the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, will launch the programme that experts have touted as a significant contribution by Ghana to tackling climate change by helping reduce global carbon emissions by 10 million tonnes over a six-year period.
Cocobod’s partners on the Cocoa Forest REDD+ mission are the Forestry Commission of Ghana, World Cocoa Foundation, a galaxy of Civil Society Organisations in the cocoa sector as well as other industry players.
According to sources, climate-smart cocoa is the sustainable production of cocoa without forest degradation but rather with methods that instead enrich the vegetation cover and nature.
Briefing the media ahead of the launch, Ghana’s minister for information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said the government will supply cocoa farmers with free seedlings of indigenous tree species to plant per every acre.
Farmers, he noted, will also be encouraged to desist from felling trees but instead nurture the trees to provide cover for their cocoa farms.
The Cocoa Forest REDD+ intervention also offers support to farmers to register trees on their farms so they have legal ownership and bargaining rights against timber merchants.
The combination of these interventions is expected to motivate cocoa farmers to lead the charge in providing vegetative cover for cocoa farms.
The Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ intervention is expected to compliment existing programmes in the sector to lead to a more sustainable cocoa industry and its attendant benefits to both farmers and the economy in general. It is also expected to give a major boost to the climate protection agenda of the country.
Cocoa farmers are encouraged to take full advantage of the programme and tap into the many incentive packages offered as the full-scale implementation begins nationwide.
The Joseph Boahen Aidoo led Cocobod, spearheading this investment, expects that a blend of the programme and its myriad sustainable cocoa production interventions including hand pollination, input subsidies, extension services, technical support and favourable pricing will continue to reward the hardworking Ghanaian cocoa farmer, safeguard the environment, and promote a renewed afforestation drive that contributes to healing an ailing planet.
A Happy Planet
For consumers of chocolate and cocoa products made from Ghana’s premium cocoa, Cocoa Forest REDD+ is one more good reason to indulge your guilty pleasure and not look over your shoulders about sourcing concerns.
Your responsible consumption behaviour of demanding for sustainability has yielded and will continue to yield positive results. A commitment to this path of leadership offered by Ghana in direct response to your relentless demand for sustainable cocoa should further animate advocacy efforts in the global cocoa value chain.
With that transparency, accountability and sustainability becomes the hallmark of the global cocoa industry producing your favourite snack in a way that deliver decent incomes and livelihood to cocoa farmers in livable communities and ensuring future generations inherit a happy Earth.
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