Observation Made During the Field Visit for CFI
Cocoa is the backbone of Ghana’s economy for a very long time. Cocoa contributes significantly to Ghana’s gross domestic product (GDP) and also a source of livelihood for cocoa farmers. Cocoa is also a driving force of deforestation. The Ghana National REDD+ Strategy identifies agricultural expansion to be responsible for fifty percent (50%) of deforestation, with cocoa as a major contributor.
The World Cocoa Foundation and the Sustainable Trade Initiative in collaboration with the International Sustainability Unit of the Office of the Prince of Wales have partnered with governments of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire and private cocoa companies to initiate the Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI). The CFI aims at providing the enabling environment for the cocoa sector players to positively contribute to the preservation of forests in Ghana and the country’s economy.
EcoCare Ghana took it upon itself to monitor the CFI commitments made by government and private cocoa companies in landscape levels using participatory approach. This lead to the creation of the MoCCPA project. The monitoring is taking place in two (2) out of the seven (7) Hot Spot Intervention Areas (HIA) in Ghana namely, Juaboso and Atwima Nponua respectively. EcoCare Ghana team visited communities in both districts for baseline study before the implementation of the MoCCPA project.
During the baseline study and project implementation, a lot of observations were made amongst stakeholders. Some observations made so far about some stakeholders includes;
- FORESTRY COMMISSION (FC)
At the forestry commission (FC) office in both Juaboso and Atwima Nponua HIA, the CFI was introduced to workers and they had very little to no knowledge about it. EcoCare team explained the CFI and its effect on the environment. They appreciated the CFI and MoCCPA project because it’s in line with what they have been trying to achieve over the years.
- COCOBOD OFFICES
A visit to the cocobod offices in both Juaboso and Atwima Nponua HIA revealed that stuff of cocobod had no idea what the CFI was all about. It gave EcoCare the opportunity to enlighten workers about the CFI and the MoCCPA project.
- LICENSE BUYING COMPANIES (LBC)
In both HIA’s visited, it was realized that most LBC’s were closed leaving a very few of them opened. The ones visited also had no knowledge about the CFI.
- FARMER BASED ORGANISATION (FBO)
The farmer based organizations in the selected communities in the HIA’s had no knowledge at all about the CFI. EcoCare educated and enlighten them about the CFI and MoCCPA project and why it is important for them to get involved and participate in its implementation.
So far, most stakeholders engaged during the baseline study and district level stakeholder meeting revealed that, almost all stakeholders have very little or no knowledge of CFI. Government and private cocoa companies have not informed and educated their staff about the CFI so all stakeholders visited had no knowledge about it. The visit gave EcoCare the opportunity to educate and inform stakeholders about CFI and its benefits for the environment. In the nut shell, more capacity building must be done to enlighten stakeholders.