The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBD) on Thursday gave the assurance that it would contribute its quota towards reversing the degradation of the forest cover which currently stood at 3.2 per annum which translated into 700,000 hectares.
Dr Yaw Adu-Ampomah, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, made this known at the maiden Cocoa and Forests Initiative Roundtable Conference in Accra.
He said it would support sustainable forest management by rolling out cocoa re-planting and strategic programme to increase cocoa production since cocoa remained the mainstay of the country’s economy.
As part of measures to increase cocoa yield, he said COCOBOD would cut-off diseased and old cocoa trees and provide farmers with high yielding cocoa seedlings for re-planting.
In addition, cocoa farmers would be taught sustainable environmental practices and motivate them to plant more cocoa seedlings.
The consultative forum is being facilitated by the World Cocoa Foundation and IDH-The Sustainable Trade Initiative, to solicit inputs into Framework of Action against forest degradation.
Mr Sander Muilerman, the Programme Manager of Climate Smart Cocoa-West Africa, said major private and public sector players had pledged to present a joint Framework of Action to end deforestation and forest degradation for Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
The joint Framework of Action, he said, would be presented at the Climate Change Conference of Parties 23 (COP 23) in Bonn in Germany in November.
Mr Muilerman said the commitment of action stemmed from the March 16 declaration made by the major players in the cocoa industry in collaboration with the governments of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire convened by the Prince of Wales’ International Sustainability Unit, the World Cocoa Foundation and 12 front-running cocoa companies that signed a statement of intent to end cocoa-related deforestation.
The Framework of Action being developed and approved by private and public actors, producers and civil society organisations would be a guide for other cocoa-producing countries across the globe to adopt similar approaches to their context and realities.
So far, more than 30 cocoa companies worldwide had signed onto the initiative since its launch.