EcoCare Ghana team together with Henrietta from Rainforest Alliance/UTZ visited the MoCCPA project districts and communities to access how the MoCCPA project is going and what community members are doing to support the CFI and lastly how community monitors are monitoring the CFI commitments in their individual communities.
The visits were followed up with a district level stakeholder’s engagement at JUABOSO and ATWEMA MPONUA districts. These districts are part of the Hot Spot Intervention Areas in Ghana where is mostly grown and is a great contributing factor to deforestation in Ghana.
There are seven communities in each district where the MoCCPA project is been implemented by EcoCare Ghana. Each community was visited and a brief discussion went on about the CFI and how community monitors are working. In all, fourteen communities were visited and each community shared their observation, experience and expectation about the CFI.
EcoCare team together with Henrietta from RA/UTZ took turns to further educate community members present about the CFI, the need to protect the forest reserve, effects of deforestation etc. community monitors were also asked about the monitoring work. They shared their experience, observations and challenges with the monitoring.
At the district level meetings, each engagement stared around 9:30am and the participants comprises of Forestry Commission, CocoBod, License Buying Companies (LBC), Farmer Base Organizations (FBO), Opinion Leaders from communities, Chief’s, Cocoa Farmers, Community Monitors and District Assembly members.
Mrs. Patience Olasu-Adjie who is a campaigner at EcoCare Ghana and also the facilitator for both meetings started off with updates from the CFI implementation process and should be expected from Government and the Cocoa buying companies with regards to their commitments. She went on to ask participants what they have observed so far in their communities and organizations about the CFI commitments implantation process. Participants took turn and shared their observations about the CFI. Participants spoke about activities been undertaken by Government (Forestry Commission and CocoBod) and the Cocoa buying Companies in their communities and districts.
Some updates shared by the representatives from the various communities includes:
• Cocoa farmers have been advised to form cooperatives in their communities in order for them to be recognized, have one voice and be able to access seedlings given to them by the Forestry Commission and the COCOBOD (CHED) to plant in their farms.
• Mapping of cocoa farms by some licensed buying companies such as Olam, Cargill, AgroEcom, Kokopa, Nyonkopa have been happening in some communities.
• COCOBOD is giving seedlings to cocoa farmers, pruning of cocoa farms, pollination and rehabilitation of old and diseased cocoa farms in some communities in the districts.
• There has been some cutting down of cocoa trees in forest reserves by the Forestry Commission in some communities that share boarders with Forest Reserves like Nkwanta (Juaboso) and Kyekyewere (Atwima Mponua)
• New Electronic scales have been introduced and given to cocoa purchasing clerks in some communities.
• Mondelez is training cocoa farmers in the districts
• Some degraded portions of Forest Reserve lands have been allocated to communities for Taungya

Some community representatives made complained about about the fact that their communities have not experienced anything from the license buying companies, cocobod or the forestry commission who represent government under the CFI.
During the discussion, participants raised some concerns which bothers on the CFI implementation process and how it is been executed by the authorities. Some of their concerns includes;

• Inaccuracy of the new electronic scales used by purchasing clerks
• Cocobod cocoa farm pruning and hand pollination are done in specific farms and not all cocoa farms.
• Fertilizers and insecticides shared for cocoa farmers arrive very late and farmers can’t apply them since it is will be late for application.
• Insufficient fertilizers and insecticides for farmers
• The Forestry Commission should give degraded forest lands to communities to farm and plant trees
• Boundary lines should be set so all will know where the farm land ends and where the forest reserve begins.

In the course of the meeting, the facilitator grouped participants into 5groups and gave each group a task. The topics for discussion in each group bordered on the CFI. Participants had to discuss amongst themselves and bring out in their mind what they consider solutions to some of the issues presented to them. The topics incudes;
1. What in your idea is Climate smart agriculture?
• Most Important things to do to get climate smart agriculture
• Stakeholders to lead the process
2. What are the relevant agencies for the Cocoa and Forest Initiative?
• What roles do we see them play?
• What new can they do
• How can we get them to do it?
3. What are the community Leaders doing under the CFI?
• What new can they do
• How can we get them to do it?
4. What are the NGO’s doing under the CFI?
• What new can they do
• How can we get them to do it?
5. What are the private sector doing under the CFI?
• What new can they do
• How can we get them to do it?
After the brainstorming section by all 5 groups, representatives from each group did a presentation. After each presentation, participants will contribute or ask questions about the presentation. The group work brought a lot of ideas that will benefit the development of the CFI. Participants after the presentations also shared their experience and excitement about the entire exercise. Some participants suggested EcoCare Ghana should organize more of such meetings because it’s been fruitful and educational

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