Ghana produces 25% of the world´s cocoa making it the second largest producer and exporter in the world. This sector is an essential contributor to the country´s economy and development, generating US$2 billion per year in foreign revenue and representing 30% of the country´s export earnings. However, significant gaps in legislation are driving illegal use of resources and worrying levels of deforestation. With no proper land ownership documentation, farmers seldom invest in new production methods. This, coupled with the small size of their farms, keeps their incomes low and increases the risk to sustain the sector.

To address these multiple issues, in 2013 the Ghanaian Government mandated its Cocoa Board to establish the Ghana Cocoa Platform. GCP supported the establishment of the platform and has now transferred full facilitation responsibility to the Cocoa Board.

Over 500,000 of Ghana´s small farmers depend on cocoa for their income. But their yields are estimated to be 30 to 50% lower than they could be.more

Piloting Landscape Sustainable Land Management

In parallel, GCP is implementing Mondelez Cocoa Life Programme Environmental pillar to demonstrate – at the landscape level - that the classic cocoa production model in Ghana can be replaced by a diversified, resilient and sustainable shade-grown production if farmers are provided with adequate support.

Indeed, by providing free tree-seedling, support for official registration of the trees, training to farmers on environmental sound production practices and environmental awareness raising, UNDP was able to pilot sustainable cocoa production with over 9,000 farmers.

To go beyond the farm level and pilot change at the landscape level, GCP is piloting Community Resource Management Areas in 36 communities. These are governance structures allowing communities, landowners and land users to govern and manage forest and wildlife resources within the boundaries of the CREAMA and to benefit financially or in kind. They allow the development of local and tailored solutions by people who have a real interest in land management to address very complex issues such as land and tree tenure rights and conflicts. 

Results Achieved so Far

  • Over 150 cocoa extension officers and hundreds of farmers were trained in environmentally sustainable good agriculture practices.
  • Over 800,000 timber tree seedlings were supplied to farmers in the areas where the programme is operating. This was to increase tree and carbon stock in cocoa landscapes. Meanwhile, farmers got to opportunity to learn about the benefits of trees on farms and about the existing rules and laws that allows farmers to own the trees they plant. 
  • The programme developed supplementary training materials on environmentally sustainable cocoa production practices and made this available to cocoa extension staff to cover gaps in the existing materials.
  • Studies on land tenure and tree tenure, which are vital policy issues for environmental sustainability and biodiversity management in cocoa production landscapes, have been completed and shared.
  • Community Resource Management Areas (CREMA) in Asunafo North cocoa growing landscape to allow communities to jointly manage the natural resources of a larger ecosystem together with relevant stakeholders was piloted.

Programme Extended from 2016 to 2020

Given the positive results, a new phase of the programme began in October 2016 and will run until 2020. Under the new phase, activities will be scaled-up to cover all Cocoa Life in 447 communities in 14 districts, with a focus on three key areas:

  • Integrating environmentally sustainable production practices into farmer extension trainings. 
  • Ensuring long-term ecosystem protection at the district to community levels by establishing three Community Resource Management Areas (CREMA) in selected districts to govern local resources and ecosystem management in cocoa landscapes.
  • Continued policy engagement with government on land tenure and tree tenure rights. 

Related Content

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  • Farmers adopt environmentally friendly practices to boost cocoa production

    Cocoa farmers in Ghana can now turn to sustainable, climate smart farming practices to boost cocoa production in the country, thanks to their increased understanding of its benefits. Cocoa, which is the main source of income for more than 800,000 smallholder farmers in Ghana, is also a major foreign exchange earner for the country.more 

  • Empowering women in agriculture

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