Foster sustainable commodity production, protect and restore forests, and enhance community livelihoods

Cameroon is the 4th largest cocoa producing country in the world yet the Cameroonian cocoa sector has become characterized by poor quality, low yields leading to a decrease in farmer incomes. As such, many farmers expand their land into forest areas, leading to increased forest degradation. As cocoa-related deforestation is expected  to have negative impact on the cocoa sector, an increasing number of companies have committed to certified and deforestation-free cocoa.

Building on these commitments IDH and WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) are co-creating the “Green Commodity Landscape Program” (GCLP) that 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 3 selected landscapes. Next to cocoa, also rubber, timber, oil palm and (e.g.) cassava will be included in the program.

Connected to the GCLP, IDH and partners co-develop a Roadmap to Deforestation-free Cocoa at national level. This roadmap supports the design and implementation of new policy instruments, guidelines and plans to tackle cocoa-related deforestation in Cameroon. These instruments and guidelines will be piloted in municipalities selected by the GCLP.

Together, the Roadmap and the GCLP coordinate national and local levels as well as business and private efforts to work towards increased sustainable production; protection of National Parks and forest areas and to help farmers find a sustainable livelihood.

© Anne Nzouankeu


The Green Commodity Landscape Program (GCLP) strategy is based on a Landscape approach in which industry partners (from cocoa and other sectors), public partners, financiers, CSOs and knowledge partners work together, through the development of land-use plans that protect forests, address the needs of local communities, and help make cocoa farming a sustainable livelihood option. See also Production, Protection and Inclusion.

The Roadmap to Deforestation-free Cocoa, is the overarching framework that supports the GCLP. It is led by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER), in close collaboration with the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife, Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development, and Ministry of Trade, while IDH facilitates the process.

1. The Grand Mbam Landscape

Located in the centre province of Cameroon, the Grand Mbam landscape involves all municipalities in the Departments of Mbam-et-Kim and Mbam-et-Inoubou that contain forest-savannah transition zones. Grand Mbam’s main produce includes cocoa, palm oil, rubber, grains and fresh fruit and vegetables such as plantain and cassava. The land is characterized by its low forest cover, but with opportunities for reforestation. Main causes of deforestation have been slash and burn agriculture and the cash crop cultivation of cocoa and palm oil. In previous years, the forest area was also logged by timber companies. Now, large sections of degraded forest land are converted for cocoa agroforestry and savannah land is used for food crop cultivation and cocoa expansion.

Within the Grand Mbam landscape, the municipality of Mbangassina will be the initial focus of the program.

Statistics of the Mbangassina municipality:

Total land cover 81,603 ha
Total primary forest cover 18,176 ha
Total secondary forest cover 21,431 ha
Total cropland 10,930 ha
Total shrubland 10,867 ha
Total cocoa 9,158 ha
Total grassland 7,005 ha
Total water 3,281 ha
Total urban 747 ha
Total oil palm 3,4 ha
Total rubber 0
Total population 68 208 (44% male, 56% female)

2. The Ayos Cluster Landscape

The Ayos Cluster encompasses the municipalities surrounding Ayos, with an initial focus on Ayos and Akonolinga Municipalities in the Nyong-et-Mfoumou divisions. Similar to the Grand Mbam, this cluster is centrally situated in Cameroon. It has a medium to high forest cover, but with rapid rates of deforestation. Activities in this landscape will depend upon funding availability.

3. The Djoum-Mintom Landscape

Made up from the municipalities south of the Dja Faunal Reserve, the Djoum-Minton landscape has a high forest cover with low but accelerating deforestation rates. The area is dominated by evergreen dense humid forest and is one of the last remaining substantial tracts of unlogged primary forest in the whole country. Djoum-Minton grows a large range of produce such as cocoa, palm oil, rubber, nuts and fresh fruit and vegetables such as cassava, plantain, bush mango, okra and legumes, to name but a few. Within the Djoum-Mintom landscape, the municipality of Mintom will be the initial focus of the program.

Statistics of the Mintom municipality:

Total land cover 385,527 ha
Total primary forest cover 377,521 ha
Total secondary forest cover 6,577 ha
Total cropland 186 ha
Total shrubland 86 ha
Total cocoa 527 ha
Total grassland 153 ha
Total water 59 ha
Total urban 412 ha
Total oil palm 1 ha
Total rubber 2 ha
Total population 11,376 inhabitants (48% male and 52% female)


Municipalities covered by the GCLP to pilot innovations will be supported through policy reforms and actions designed through the Roadmap to Deforestation-free Cocoa process. Pilots will include the development of land use planning and management schemes, identification of investment opportunities and creation of new business models that can attract investors.

The plans of the GCLP are currently being scoped out. This includes a more in-depth analysis of the main challenges and opportunities in the selected priority municipalities. This will lead to the identification of possible strategies and interventions for these municipalities around landscape governance, sustainable production, environmental protection and social inclusion. It will also lead to a number of bankable project proposals that interested investors could invest in or implement. The plans are expected to be launched later in 2020.

Our Team