The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Commission, Mr Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie, has called on the private sector to support the government to address the challenges in the country’s forest sector.
Speaking at the launch of the national action plan for the implementation of initiatives to restore degraded forests and improve cocoa production, Mr. Owusu-Afriyie, said the national implementation plan would help to guard against the destruction of forest reserves and address conflicts between forestry officials and cocoa farmers.
Dubbed the Ghana Cocoa and Forest Initiative, a 45-page document highlights commitments between the government and industry players to take specific steps towards sustainable cocoa production while preserving forest resources.
The plan which focuses on three thematic areas – forest protection and restoration, sustainable production of cocoa and providing safeguarding livelihood of farmers, as well as community engagement and social inclusion is being implemented by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, in collaboration with the ministries of Agriculture, Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, as well as the Forestry Commission and the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD).
Under the forest protection and restoration component, maps of cocoa lands and forest reserves are expected to be developed to guide the use of the forest.
In addition, a national register of cocoa farmers will be established for effective traceability of activities along the cocoa value chain.
The sustainable cocoa production aspect of the plan deals with the adoption of modern technology and methodology to increase cocoa production on limited land space.
With the community engagement and social inclusion model, emphasis will be placed on the sharing of relevant information, consultation and participation of cocoa farmers in issues that have an impact on them.
The CEO of COCOBOD, Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, said the initiative is timely as it will help the country to have a sustainable cocoa industry.
COCOBOD will remain focused on empowering smallholder farmers to increase their production by adopting the appropriate technology and modern methods of production, he remarked.