Progress on forest maps, monitoring and farm boundaries in Ghana

The Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) commits companies and the Ghana government to stop further conversion of any forest land for cocoa production, as well as end production and sourcing of cocoa from protected areas, with the exception of farms with existing legal status (‘admitted farms’).

To uphold these commitments, and supports the implementation of the Ghana National Implementation Plan, a Mapping Task Force was set up. It is composed of CFI signatories, civil society organizations, as well as technical partners and chaired by the Head of Mapping at the Resource Management Support Centre (RMSC). On 7 and 8 Feb, the Mapping Task Force met in Accra, with close to 70 participants attending from government, private sector, civil society and farmer groups.

The main points for discussion included:

  • Updated forest maps
  • Establishing a national satellite monitoring system
  • Cocoa farm boundaries and admitted farms

Updated Forest Maps

A key learning from the workshop was that official forest cover maps are available at the RMSC, an institution under the responsibility of the Forestry Commission, which has the mandate to develop integrated forest and wildlife management systems as well as forest cover maps, and facilitate and monitor their implementation. The RMSC is in the process of finalizing the 2017 forest cover maps, which will be made available to signatories upon request through the CFI Secretariat hosted by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.

Satellite monitoring system

In the workshop, seven service providers presented how they are monitoring forests through satellite imagery in Ghana. Given the difficulty to identify the most appropriate system, the Task Force will follow up by creating a matrix, comparing existing monitoring systems and platforms. This will help identify gaps and the way forward. To assist in the decision-making process, companies and government will pilot data comparison in the various systems, using one National Park as a test ground.

Cocoa farm boundaries and agreement on admitted farms

In line with their CFI action plans, companies are currently mapping the farms within their direct supply chain and are planning to have mapped out 451,900 farms by the end-2019. This mapping will help to identify and collect cocoa farm boundary data. An important part of the mapping is getting information on boundaries of admitted farms in forest reserves. ‘Admitted farms’ refer to the rights of people with farms inside the reserve area, before it was designated as protected. Task Force members agreed that to ascertain the legality of the farms, ‘ground-truthing’ and consultations with communities will be used, in addition to satellite-based detection. The RMSC will take this point forward, to ensure ground-truthing activities will be funded and implemented.

Under the lead of the RMSC, Task Force members will continue working towards identification of the maps and tools that can be used by all CFI signatories to progress on their commitments and monitor the initiative’s progress. In particular, the CFI National Secretariat aims to make progress on CFI satellite monitoring system by June 2019.