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Cocoa & Forests Initiative marks progress in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana despite challenging year

Cocoa Forests Initiative

UTRECHT, The Netherlands – The governments and 35 companies in the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) today reported progress made towards ending deforestation in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana in two joint public/private sector reports (Read the reports). Actions in 2020 included more development of agroforestry with the distribution of 6 million non-cocoa trees by cocoa and chocolate companies in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.

This brings the total number of forest trees supplied by the private sector since the launch of CFI to 10.4 million. Companies are also investing in large scale farmer training for better livelihoods and less incentive to encroach into forests.

Governments’ efforts have focused on applying the new legal and institutional framework that supports the implementation of CFI. This includes awareness-raising campaigns on the new Forest Code in Côte d’Ivoire, with notably the “1 day, 5 million trees” campaign planting one tree for every five Ivorians. To further develop cocoa agroforestry, 10 million trees are currently in nurseries and will be distributed to Ivorian farmers in 2021. Côte d’Ivoire has an objective to extend forest cover to 20% of the country by 2030 (up from 11% in 2015).

In Ghana, the government has a strong focus on delivering on the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Program (GCFRP) and has restored almost 226,000 hectares of forest area. Landscape level approaches are being developed in priority areas such as Asunafo-Asutifi, Bia-Juaboso, Kakum and Bibiani-Anwianso-Sefwi-Wiawso, in partnership with companies, non-governmental organizations and local communities. This work will be accelerated in 2021 with the recently announced partnership between the Ghana Forestry Commission and WCF.

All signatories are improving the traceability of the cocoa supply chain. The government of Côte d’Ivoire mapped all cocoa farms through a national operation conducted by the Conseil du Café-Cacao. Companies reached on average 82% (Ghana) and 74% (Côte d’Ivoire) traceability in their direct supply chains and mapped about 605,000 cocoa farms in both countries. To address indirect sourcing through middlemen, the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana have both launched work on national systems to achieve full traceability of the entire cocoa supply chain. To complement that mapping effort and monitor deforestation, the government of Côte d’Ivoire has adopted the IMAGES satellite monitoring system for the Cocoa & Forests Initiative.

Honorable Samuel A. Jinapor, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in Ghana, said, “The Ministry is proud to be the Chair of this unique multi stakeholder approach to halt further deforestation and forest degradation in the cocoa supply chain. Despite the hard times faced because of COVID-19 in 2020, we are happy to present this cumulative progress report which reflects the efforts by both the Government and the cocoa and chocolate producing companies to conserve, protect and restore our forest. Going forward, the government of Ghana will remain fully committed to the CFI processes and ensure a fruitful partnership and collaboration with all partners.”

Honorable Alain-Richard Donwahi, Minister of Water and Forests in Côte d’Ivoire, said “In addition to the major challenge of mobilizing the financial resources required for the successful implementation of CFI, there is another linked to establishing the unified national cocoa traceability system and the national forest monitoring and deforestation early warning system alongside a monitoring and verification mechanism. This is an important challenge to be addressed, given the increasing pressure from cocoa consumers and civil society organizations to ensure traceability of exported agricultural and forestry commodities.”

Mr. Chris Vincent, Interim President at World Cocoa Foundation, said, “Our work for forest positive cocoa is more urgent than ever, and we seem to be on the right track for tangible results. These joint progress reports are a testimony to the resilience of the sector and our excellent public/private collaboration on ending deforestation. In 2021/2022, cocoa and chocolate companies want to continue landscape approaches with local partners, ramp up the adoption of agroforestry and forest restoration in degraded areas, and partner on traceability and satellite monitoring with the governments.”

Mr. Jonas Mva Mva, Program Director Cocoa at IDH, said, “IDH is proud of the progress achieved by the Cocoa & Forests Initiative in 2020, revealing again the great potential of public/private collaboration. In this time of crisis, it is more important than ever to accelerate our joint efforts towards ending deforestation and restoring forest areas. In the following years, we will continue to empower signatories to meet their commitments and together increase the transparency and sustainability of the cocoa sector.”

About the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI)

CFI is a joint partnership of the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and 35 cocoa and chocolate companies facilitated by IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative and the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), with support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (BUZA), Partnership for Forests (P4F) through the United Kingdom Government’s Department for International Development, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and the World Bank.

Cocoa and chocolate companies and governments collaborate within the framework of CFI with other stakeholders such as NGOs, farmer organizations and civil society organizations on the development and implementation of business-driven solutions.