District Level Stakeholder Meeting at Juaboso and Atwima Mponua for MoCCPA Project
EcoCare Ghana held a district level stakeholder meeting for stakeholders in juaboso and Atwima Nponua district to discuss the Monitoring cocoa and forest initiative commitments through participatory approach (MoCCPA) project.
The juaboso meeting was held in the district hospital conference room and the Atwima Nponua meeting was held in the district assembly hall. The meeting was attended by members of forestry commission, cocobod, farmers, chiefs, opinion leaders, licensed buying companies, media just to mention a few.
The meeting was organized to build capacity, educate participants and discuss the MoCCPA project and to find out how all relevant stakeholders can contribute to its success in selected districts. Prior to the meeting, a visit was made by EcoCare team to selected farming communities within the juaboso and Atwima Nponua district to inform the community about MoCCPA project and invite two (2) members from each community to participate in the meeting.
The lead campaigner for EcoCare Ghana Mr Obed Addai in his presentation in both meetings took participants through the history and inception of cocoa and forest initiative (CFI) and how it lead to the creation of the MoCCPA project. He explained to participants how cocoa farming is causing deforestation in forest reserves and how it is affecting the forest, farm yield and the climate over time. He went on to educate them on how the CFI will help reduce deforestation, help in forest restoration and improve the cocoa supply chain in Ghana. He advised cocoa farmers about the need to plant trees in cocoa farms to prevent the cocoa trees from dyeing as a results of exposure to the sun and also how to harvest more cocoa on small lands rather than farming on bigger land and still harvesting less.
He further went on to explain that, the MoCCPA project is about monitoring the commitments made by government and private sector. He explained that, EcoCare is not implementing the CFI but rather monitoring the implementation process in both national and landscape levels. He urged all participants to be part of the monitoring process because they are in the landscape levels and they will witness and experience everything first hand.
Mr Nuamah from the Nkawie district of the forestry commission took turn to respond to some issues raised during the meeting. He advised participants about climate change and its effect on the environment. He urged farmers to plant trees in their farms and desist from cutting down trees to make way for farms in forest reserves. He warned farmers and community members who have encroached in forest reserves to leave the forest. He encouraged all stakeholders available to actively participate in the CFI and asked community members to accept the MoCCPA project and help monitor the commitments made by government and private sector. He stated that the MoCCPA project is in line with forestry commissions plans to restore the forest and minimize deforestation so its initiation is timely.
At Nhyinahin, the assistant district manager also responded to questions and allegations made by some community members present at the meeting about FC members who participate in illegal logging. He assured participants that the forestry commission is not part of illegal logging in the district but a staff of the commission can unlawfully engage in that act but it shouldn’t be generalized as the entire forestry commission. He encouraged community members to report any FC staff caught in any illegal activity for proper punishment. He also spoke about the rapid loss of the forest reserve as a result of farming within the forest reserve. He advised community members at the meeting about the effects of deforestation on the environment. He asked all stakeholders to actively participate in the CFI and help restore the forest and minimize deforestation.
In conclusion the stakeholder meeting was a successful one because it brought together all relevant stakeholders to discuss the CFI and the implementation of the MoCCPA project. A lot of concerns were raised by the participants and suggestions were also made to help with the implementation of the MoCCPA project.