Proforest Initiative Africa has secured a grant from the Walmart Foundation to implement a project: ‘Building a deforestation-free climate and climate-resilient cocoa landscape’ in the Asutifi South Sub- Hotspot Intervention Area (HIA) in the Ahafo Region. Key activities of the nearly US$1 million grant will help advance priorities outlined in the Asunafo-Asutifi HIA Management Plan, produced in collaboration with key stakeholders.
The 22-month project, which began in February 2023, is being implemented in partnership with the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) and the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI), the Asutifi South Sub HIA, global cocoa & chocolate companies, and other key partners, to pilot innovative strategies for landscape interventions identified in the Asunafo-Asutifi HIA Management Plan.
Key activities include the establishment of Secretariat for a Community Resource Management Area (CREMA), Rural Service Center (RSC) and to pilot a revolving fund to serve as a model that can be scaled up and replicated in other landscapes.
The Asunafo-Asutifi HIA spans a total area of 57,350 hectares. The CREMA, supported by this grant, will cover approximately 45,880 hectares (about 80percent of the overall area).
This grant will directly contribute to 250 hectares of land restoration; 20,000 hectares of land conservation and 30,000 hectares of sustainable management of cocoa areas.
Active stakeholder engagement will be an integral part of the implementation, to socialize the landscape initiative with the wider community, which will help strengthen local buy-in and foster opportunities to scale up these efforts.
A community-based rural service centre, equipped with the requisite resources, will provide the much-needed technical training and farm management services to about 15,000 farmers within the project area to help improve their productivity.
The project will also have a focus on women, training at least 100 women in ways to help diversify incomes and improve livelihoods, while also supporting them with finance through a revolving fund to support implementation.
“Leveraging on private and public support for landscape initiatives is essential in ensuring the scale-up and long-term sustainability of the initiative for more socio-economic and environmental impact,” said Dr. Augustus Asamoah, Principal Project Manager, Proforest Africa.
“We greatly value what the Walmart Foundation is bringing to the landscape,” he continued. “We will be working closely with all stakeholders, building on existing partnerships with the Forestry Commission, Ghana COCOBOD and the landscape governance structure. We will also work collaboratively with all relevant stakeholders, including local community members to address any potential challenge that may arise during programme implementation.”
This new grant from the Walmart Foundation to support Asunafo Asutifi landscape programme contributes to Proforest’s sustainable landscapes initiatives ongoing in Ghana, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire and other countries to improve people’s lives and promote positive environmental impacts at scale.
“We look forward to seeing how this grant to Proforest Initiative Africa helps advance a sustainable landscape approach for cocoa in Ghana. As with many of our landscape investments, this grant will help build local capacity through stakeholder engagement and technical support while also delivering tangible benefits on-the-ground that will enhance social, economic and environmental resilience across the region,” says Julie Gehrki, VP and Chief Operating Officer, Walmart Foundation.
Proforest is a global mission-driven organisation, focused on the production base and supply chains of agricultural and forestry commodities including soy, sugar, rubber, palm oil, cocoa, coconut, beef and timber. We support companies with direct action to tackle environmental and social risks throughout a supply chain. We also work with governments, companies, and collaborative organisations, in order to address systemic issues beyond the supply chain, within a landscape or a sector, to deliver positive outcomes at scale for people, nature and climate.