Addressing cocoa-related deforestation and forest degradation in Cameroon through a multi-stakeholder partnership

The cocoa sector plays a vital role in Cameroon for job and wealth creation for local communities, and for forest protection and ecosystem conservation. Globally, Cameroon is an important cocoa producing country, standing as the 4th largest producing country in the world. A role that is all the more important given that Cameroon’s tropical forests cover about 46% of the national territory and account for 11% of the forests in the Congo Basin. Cocoa companies and the Cameroonian government have recognized the risks posed by deforestation and the adverse effects of climate change and have understood that it is an important issue to be able to continue to grow cocoa while preserving the forest.

To increase cocoa production sustainably, protect National Parks and forest areas, and to help farmers find a sustainable livelihood, IDH and partners are supporting the development of a Roadmap to Deforestation-free Cocoa. The Roadmap is led by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.

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About the Roadmap to Deforestation-free Cocoa

The Roadmap to Deforestation-free Cocoa is a public, private, civil society partnership that aims to end cocoa-related deforestation in Cameroon. It builds on the Cocoa & Forests Initiative’s Statement of Intent signed by the industry in 2017, through which companies committed to working together, pre competitively, to end deforestation and forest degradation in the cocoa supply chain.

The Roadmap is developed with three driving objectives:

  • Conservation of National Parks and forested land, as well as restoration of forests that have been degraded by human activities, in particular encroachment by cocoa farms among other factors.
  • Sustainable intensification and diversification of income in order to increase farmers’ yields and livelihood, to grow “more cocoa on less land” and thereby reduce pressure on forests.
  • Engagement and empowerment of cocoa-growing communities.

© Anne Nzouankeu

Actions of the Framework:

The Roadmap will help create a competitive advantage for Cameroonian cocoa in the global market, help coordinate public-private-civil society efforts to achieve higher and more stable cocoa quality and promote greater cocoa sustainability by promoting cocoa agroforestry.

Specific actions under development are:

  • A national traceability system to identify and track the history, distribution and application of products, parts and materials to ensure the reliability of sustainability claims in the areas of human rights, labour (including health and safety), the environment and anti-corruption.
  • A satellite-based monitoring system with deforestation alerts to help signatories of the Roadmap monitor cocoa-related deforestation.

The Framework for Action of this roadmap was developed through a participatory process that was launched in Yaoundé on 31 January 2019. This process brought together representatives of the Government of Cameroon, public and private sector actors, national and international civil society organizations, farmer organizations, research institutions, development partners and other stakeholders in Cameroon and at the global level. Over time, more than 200 stakeholders have been involved in this consultation process.

The Roadmap to Deforestation-free Cocoa is led by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development. The process is facilitated by IDH, the Sustainable Initiative, though funding from its institutional donors: BUZA (The Netherlands) SECO (Switzerland) and DANIDA (Denmark).

Green Cocoa Landscape Program (GCLP)

Connected to the Roadmap to Deforestation-free Cocoa, IDH and the World Wildlife Fund are co-developing the Green Cocoa Landscape Program (GCLP), which  brings together key (cocoa) stakeholders to co-design and jointly implement actions that help protect forests, improve sustainable production of cocoa and enhanced livelihoods for farmers and surrounding communities in two selected landscapes. Next to cocoa, rubber, timber, oil palm and cassava will also be included in the program.

Municipalities selected by the GCLP to pilot innovations will benefit with policy reforms and actions designed through the Roadmap to Deforestation-free Cocoa. Pilots will include the development of land use plans, identification of investment opportunities and creation of new business models that can attract investors.

Signatories of the Roadmap

Government Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER)
Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF)
Ministry of Commerce (MINCOMMERCE)
Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED)
Private Sector Agribusiness Services and Import Export (SARL)
Agroproduce Management Services (AMS)
Atlantic Cocoa Corporation (ACC) SA
Barry Callebaut/SICCACAO
Neo Industry
Producam SA
Telcar Cocoa
Civil Society Organizations, Research Institutions, Technical & Financial Partners CIFOR
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
Forêts et Développement Rural (FODER)
International Tropical Institure of Agriculture (IITA)
Rainforest Alliance (RA)
Service d’Appui Aux Initiatives Locales (SAILD)
World Agro-forestry Centre (ICRAF)
Producer Organizations Confédération Nationale de Producteurs de Cacao et Café du Cameroun (CONAPROCAM)
South West Farmers Cooperative Union BOD (SOWEFCU BOD)
Endorsers Consulate of The Netherlands
Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA)
Secretariat IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative

Contact our team:

Signatories of the Roadmap