Agricultural expansion driving deforestation – Group

Mr. Lumumba speaking at the roundtable discussion

The Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, a nature conservation group, has said agricultural expansion in the country is responsible for more than 70 percent of the country’s rapid loss of forest cover.

Speaking in Accra at a partner roundtable discussion, Joseph Lumumba – Regional Coordinator for Africa, The Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 – said Ghana has so far lost 60 percent of its forest cover, andh agricultural expansion is the lead cause of this deforestation.

“The deforestation is a very serious issue in Africa, specifically if we talk about Ghana. I would say that 70 percent of the deforestation is driven by agriculture production and expansion. Ghana has lost more than 60 percent of its forest. Ghana, as we know, is one of the global leaders for cocoa production and equally an important player in Africa for palm oil production.

“When you look alongside those supply chains, deforestation is happening on a large scale. So, if we really want to address deforestation in a meaningful way within Ghana, you have to address it within these commodity supply chains as well,” Mr. Lumumba said.

He explained that the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 is a dedicated platform for public-private cooperation, working to help organisations achieve their deforestation-free commitments.

The mission of TFA 2020, he said, is to help producers, traders and buyers of forest-risk commodities achieve their commitments to deforestation-free supply chains.

“It also helps governments of tropical forest countries to realise better growth through sustainable rural development in partnership with civil society and indigenous peoples. TFA 2020 works by convening stakeholders at the global and regional level to form partnerships, which are designed to transform land use practices and supply chains,” Mr. Lumumba said.

The central focus of the TFA 2020 is to halve the rate of deforestation in the tropical regions by 2020; and according to Mr. Lumumba, the partner roundtable in Accra is to understand how partners are faring in their implementation.

“This roundtable is to understand the challenges that partners are facing in implementing their deforestation-free initiatives and where there’s an opportunity in terms of who can support what; if we can identify that to provide linkages, then we can help to scale-up where they are now.  

“With less than 1000 days to this target, it is necessary to see where they are in terms of progress made toward implementation of those commitments, and which challenges and opportunities may be identified for scaling-up and lessons learnt,” he added. 

The roundtable organised held last week gave opportunity for companies in the palm oil, cocoa and rubber sectors, and government and relevant donors that are actively engaged or are planning to engage in zero-deforestation initiatives to assess their progress, discuss challenges and explore avenues for collaboration to accelerate implementation.

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