05.12.2023 Agriculture

Deputy Lands Minister urges cocoa farmers in Ghana and Ivory Coast to fight against deforestation

By Irene Wirekoaa Osei, ISD || Contributor
Deputy Lands Minister urges cocoa farmers in Ghana and Ivory Coast to fight against deforestation
05.12.2023 LISTEN

The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Lands and Forestry, Mr Benito Owusu-Bio, has urged cocoa farmers in Ghana and Ivory Coast to step up efforts to increase output and safeguard their respective forest reserves.

He made the call at the Cocoa Forest Initiative (CFI) event held by the Ivorian Ministry of Water and Forest as part of the ongoing COP28 in Dubai.

He noted that because the two nations account for 60% of world cocoa output, they needed to work together to address the issue of climate change.

“As you know Ghana and Ivory Coast produce over 60 per cent of the world's cocoa supplies and it means that cocoa is a very important commodity which we cannot do away with. It also means that we have to be careful since there are competing land uses for food production, cocoa cultivation, mining and forest conservation.

“This is where we need to strengthen our collaboration to ensure the sustainability of our production, halt deforestation and forest degradation and eventually contribute to global efforts to fight climate change,” he added.

Mr Owusu-Bio commended the two countries for their historically rich collaborations, especially in the area of cocoa production.

He noted that since the establishment of the CFI, Ghana and Ivory Coast have effectively combined efforts to ensure that cocoa production in both countries was done with minimal impact on the environment.

He indicated the readiness of the government to team up with the private sector to pursue a path of dealing with cocoa-driven deforestation.

The Cocoa and Forest Initiative, according to the Deputy Minister, has proven to be an effective instrument for attracting private sector participation in the battle against cocoa-driven deforestation. It is therefore critical to maintain and continue this unique collaboration to ensure that cocoa is produced lawfully and with little impact on our forests.

“We, in Ghana, remain committed to CFI and will continue to collaborate with our partners from the World Cocoa Foundation, IDH Sustainable Trade and the chocolate and cocoa-producing companies. We would also like to encourage learning exchange visits with our counterparts in Ivory Coast. This will ensure effective and efficient implementation and functioning of the CFI Secretariats in both countries.

“Ghana and Ivory Coast have actively participated and organised CFI events in 3 successive COPs starting from COP26 in Glasgow, COP 27 in Sharm El Sheikh and now CoP 28 in Dubai. In each of these, we have worked closely together to ensure that we can share knowledge on how to halt deforestation due to Cocoa production in our respective countries,” he added.