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
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