The Cocoa Partnership and IUCN: working together in Ghana

18 April 2011 | Article

IUCN is working with the Cocoa Partnership in Ghana, to develop an environmental strategy for cocoa production that supports local livelihoods.

The partnership aims to secure the future of cocoa production, and cocoa related incomes for a million farmers in Ghana, India, Indonesia and the Caribbean, through a community-driven approach that works closely with farmers. It was established following the realisation that the neglect of good environmental practices is one of the most significant negative impacts on cocoa yield, and the well being of cocoa growing communities. . This has contributed to the loss of ecosystem functions as well as to equally negative effects on cocoa production.

IUCN began working with the Cocoa Partnership (CP) in the middle of 2010 and has been supporting UNDP in developing an environmental strategy for the CP in Ghana. The strategy is being developed around the outcomes of an extensive environmental baseline study into which IUCN has provided extensive inputs. IUCN’s experience in the restoration of degraded forest landscapes in Ghana through the ecosystem approach and work on non-timber forest products has been at the core of these inputs. IUCN has also brought to the CP its’ experience in conflict resolution among stakeholders involved in conservation and development planning, as well as the implementation and monitoring of land-use options in different landscapes.

In February 2011, IUCN organised workshops in Kumasi and Takoradi that brought together stakeholders of the Partnership represented by traditional authorities, civil society organisations, the private cocoa sector, related research organisations, the Ghana Cocoa Board, personnel of the Cocoa Partnership, government agencies and the UNDP, with the objective of reviewing the draft environmental baseline for cocoa production developed by the UNDP and IUCN. Broad outcomes of an environmental strategy generated by the highly participatory workshops ranged from: land, tree tenure and rights; policy, legal frameworks and institutional aspects; research; risks including pesticides and climate; information and communication, and incentives and disincentives related to landscape restoration. These will constitute major sections of the full strategy.

The Cocoa Partnership was formed in January 2008 by the Cadbury multinational company – now Kraft foods- - with a number of partners in India, Indonesia, the Caribbean, and Ghana. In Ghana, the partnership sought to secure the future of cocoa production and cocoa related incomes by focusing on the wellbeing of cocoa growing communities. Partners of the CP in Ghana include UNDP, the Ghana Cocoa Board, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, the Ministry of Social Welfare and Employment, World Vision Ghana, CARE International, Voluntary Service Overseas, and Kraft Foods. Its vision is to promote thriving rural communities that support a sustainable cocoa supply chain through multiple interventions including effective farm management and related programmes currently implemented in 100 cocoa growing communities in Ghana.