CLIMATE SMART COCOA PRODUCTION STANDARDS
In 2017, the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and the Forestry Commission (FC) agreed to work together towards the adoption of good practices for enhanced productivity, adaptation and mitigation of the adverse effects of climate change on cocoa and forest landscapes. The initiative was based on the shared vision of COCOBOD and Forestry Commission, working through its REDD+ Secretariat to develop a cocoa sector that was climate smart,deforestation-free and contributed positively to forest protection and accelerated human development. The key outcomes of this concerted national strategy were the restoration and preservation of cocoa landscapes and, provision of an enabling environment and coordinated approach for private sector involvement in addressing climate change issues in cocoa as a commodity that thrives on forest.
Lessons from recent climate science projections in Ghana suggest differentiated impacts of climate change across the different cocoa regions. Climate change manifestations are not uniform across landscapes, and decision environment are likewise expected to vary. Climate change adaptation should therefore be site, crop and actor-specific. The cocoa and forest sectors will need to adopt equally diverse response options to alleviate negative impacts or take advantage of opportunities that not only address the impacts but are tailored to the needs and characteristics of the different climate impact zones.
The Committee tasked to draft guidelines for the strategic initiative proposed a climate-smart cocoa (CSC) solution that will transform and re-orient cocoa and agricultural systems to support food security in the context of the new realities of climate change. It aligned its work with current definition of CSA which centres around three pillars: 1) sustainably increasing agricultural productivity to support equitable increases in incomes, food security, and development; 2) adapting and building resilience to climate change from farm to national levels; and 3) reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering carbon where possible. Embedded in CSA are conscious efforts to deal with gender and social inclusion. These were fully aligned with the cocoa sector strategy and the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme (GCFRP) aimed at increasing cocoa productivity, building resilience and reducing emissions in the cocoa landscape.
While CSA is often narrowly associated with on-farm practices related to sustainable intensification, the Committee dueled on a broader sense CSC approach to encompass landscape-level interventions (e.g. management of farm-forest boundaries, integration of local government and traditional authorities), services interventions (information, technology, finance and extension, particularly those provided by COCOBOD), institutions (e.g. incentives for adoption, market/price governance, local participation, cocoa sector regulations) and the food system (wider climate-informed safety nets, consumption patterns, etc). The Committee explored best practices at sector and landscape level to provide insight into how we can use novel approaches to scale up adoption of climate-smart practices to meaningfully address the challenges of productivity, poverty and climate change. The approaches described included those based on the cocoa value chains and private sector involvement, policy engagement, and information and communication technologies. This standard is therefore a bridge between landscape level metrics and practical guidance to developing site-specific landscape initiatives to secure the cocoa sector in the face of changing climate. The standard offers scaling approaches and provides opportunities for scaling CSA practices and technologies. It integrates a multi-stakeholder platform and policy making networks as key driving force for effective up scaling, paired with field level capacity enhancement, learning, and innovative approaches to support decision making of farmers at any location in the sector. For the first time, this national guideline is set as the standard of climate smart and landscape work in every climate impact zone in the cocoa belt. The Climate smart Cocoa Production Standard is thus the property of the COCOBOD, in coordination with the Forestry Commission. The Standard is intended for use by entities that aspire to maintain climate smart ideals in cocoa production and/or cocoa-forest landscape activities.
The Climate Smart Cocoa Production Standard will be a living document that will continually be reviewed and updated to remain current and relevant. The committee recommends a governance model for overseeing this process over time. It agreed that despite growing action and investment in climate smart cocoa, the climate science is not yet fully developed in the Ghanaian context. There is room for scientific evidence on synergies and trade-offs in productivity, resilience, and mitigation resulting from different agricultural practices, technologies, and programs, and across agro-ecologies and social contexts. Science and experiences from pilots must inform review of this standard and national climate cocoa policy that fully integrates food security concerns with the need for climate action. Industry will be able to refer to the standard during their production and engagement process with farmers and in the market.
Read Entire Document: COCOBOD_C1_Final_Climate_Smart_Cocoa_Standard_2020.pdf