Lands Minister launches Asunafo-Asutifi landscape programme at COP28 to kick off CFI phase 2.0

By Irene Wirekoaa Osei, ISD || Contributor
Climate Lands Minister launches Asunafo-Asutifi landscape programme at COP28 to kick off CFI phase 2.0
DEC 5, 2023 LISTEN

The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel A. Jinapor, has launched the Asunafo-Asutifi Landscape Programme, a Cocoa Forest Initiative (CFI) 2.0, aimed at enhancing forest conservation, landscape restoration and supporting the livelihood of forest communities.

The Lands Minister officially out doored the programme during a CFI event on the theme ‘Accelerating CFI 2.0 by Increasing Investments in Priority Landscapes in Ghana’ on Sunday in Dubai.

He called on the international community to partner with Ghana to scale up its policies and initiatives that are geared toward protecting the forest.

He noted that the Asunafo-Asutifi Landscape Programme is premised on four key areas: forest restoration, restoration of degraded lands, empowerment of the livelihood of residents of forest communities and creating a national forest system.

Mr Jinapor reiterated the calls for the renewal of commitments and fulfilment of promises from all stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of the CFI 2.0, disclosing that the government is resolved to ensure the actualisation of the CFI 2-0 goals.

“With the climate crisis worsening and the fears that we are gradually approaching global boiling, we must scale up our work on this initiative. We must renew our commitments and work harder to protect our forests, through the implementation of CFI 2.0.

“Ghana remains resolute in this regard and we will continue to adopt and implement policies and programmes that will ensure that the Cocoa and Forest Initiative realises its goal,” he said.

The Minister also highlighted some policies being implemented by the Government of Ghana to empower cocoa farmers and encourage citizens’ participation in protecting the forest.

“To improve forest governance, the Government of Ghana is also implementing a Timber Tending Benefit (TTB), which provides an upfront payment to farmers for nurturing and protecting naturally occurring trees on their farms. Through this initiative, farmers are encouraged to protect and nurture trees in their farms.

“And to encourage sustainable farming practices and ensure that farmers get value from their produce, the Government of Ghana has increased cocoa producer price by 63.5%, from US$66.60 per bag to US$109, the highest price to be paid to farmers across West Africa in 50 years,” he added.

He also took stock of the benefits Ghana gained from the CFI 1.0 and assured of the government's commitment to ensuring the success of the second phase.

“The implementation of CFI 1.0, between 2018 and 2022, has proven to be a great addition to other projects and programmes being implemented in the Natural Resource and Environmental Governance Sector, as well as a useful tool in ensuring deforestation-free cocoa production.

“Anchored on the three pillars of forest protection and restoration, sustainable cocoa production and farmers’ livelihood, community engagement and social inclusion, we have been able to lay a solid foundation for a sustainable and responsible cocoa industry.

“Over 17,000 hectares of degraded forests have been restored, both on and off reserves, some 27,000,000 trees have been distributed for planting, five Environmental and Social Management Plans have been completed in Hotspot Intervention areas and over 150,000 farmers have been trained in climate-smart cocoa practices, with as many as 670,000 trained in Good Agricultural Practices,” he said.

The Cocoa and Forests Initiative is an active commitment of top cocoa-producing countries with leading chocolate and cocoa companies to end deforestation and restore forest areas through no further conversion of any forest land for cocoa production.