The project aims to achieve a deforestation-free cocoa landscape in the Juabeso and Bia Districts of Western Ghana and to support the development of a market for climate-smart cocoa beans.
Touton, through the Partnership for Productivity Protection and Resilience in Cocoa Landscapes (3PRCL) project, is leading a consortium of partners including Ghana Forestry Commission, Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), SNV, Agro Eco, the Nature Conservation Research Centre and communities - to develop and pilot a landscape-wide governance framework in the Juabeso-Bia landscape in the Western region of Ghana.
The expected outcome of the project is to catalyse investment from the private sector to preserve approximately 160,000 hectares of protected forest reserve and deliver socioeconomic benefits to an estimated 150,000 people by 2020.
The project seeks to establish a landscape governance structure and systems at regional, district and community levels with oversight of land use management, forest protection, and improved productivity and livelihoods.
The partnership adopts a jurisdictional approach which ensures that all stakeholders across the cocoa sector commit to and collaborate on achieving Climate Smart Cocoa which is tied to Ghana’s Emission Reduction Programme. Building on Touton’s Rural Service Centre model, the project aims to achieve measurable reductions in deforestation, enhanced resilience, significant increases in farmers’ yields and incomes and the marketing of climate-smart cocoa beans.
Cocoa is Ghana’s most important agricultural commodity, accounting for roughly 57 percent of all agricultural exports and supporting the livelihoods of some 2.5 million rural farmers and their dependents. Cocoa production is predominant in the high forests zones of Ghana. The Western Region, which holds the largest area of remaining primary forest in Ghana produces over 50 percent of the country’s cocoa beans.
Ghana’s forests have come under severe threat from agricultural expansion, which accounts for nearly 140,000 hectares of High Forest Zone (HFZ) loss each year, with over a quarter of this being driven by cocoa production. This makes cocoa production the single biggest driver of deforestation in the landscape. The underlying causes for this include: a shortage of financial and technical support for sustainable cocoa production leading to expansion into forest areas; legal disincentives to maintaining trees on farms; a lack of land use planning and landscape management; and a lack of collaboration amongst cocoa stakeholders.
The 3PRCL is the first pilot of the Ghana Cocoa and Forests Emission Reduction Programme and will contribute towards early action under the Cocoa and Forests Initiative, launched in London with support from HRH the Prince of Wales in 2017. The 3PRCL is notably supported by the Partnerships for Forests.
I want to reiterate that my government is in full support of every action that prevents forest degradation and deforestations and increases our forest cover. I call on everyone gathered here, and every Ghanaian, to rise to the occasion - President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in his opening address at the REDD+ Forum
The surest way to achieve zero deforestation outcome in cocoa and forest landscapes is for all stakeholders and value chain actors living and working in the landscapes to work in concert in providing pragmatic solutions to deforestation. Working in silos and not at a landscape scale will only give marginal results - Ernest Dwamena – Touton Ghana Manager, Sustainable Sourcing