Tree tenure – the ownership and benefit sharing in planted and naturally growing trees on cocoa farms – is a very delicate issue to tackle when dealing with local farmers in Ghana.
It is an important factor in farmers’ willingness to participate in the management and protection of forest and tree resources. The lack of tenure security negatively affects reforesting degraded off-reserves, with farmers in some instances clearing out planted trees for fear of losing them without compensation and having their farms destroyed in the process.
It is against this background that under the Joint Framework of Action, key actions are being taken to accelerate the development of land and tree tenure reforms to retain naturally regenerated trees on off-reserve farmlands, as well as to establish a national register of farms and trees.
Tree tenure is one of the targeted areas of work of the Cocoa & Forest Initiative (CFI) Agroforestry Taskforce. Policy reform on tree tenure and benefit sharing of tree resources is currently being finalized by the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources (MLNR) (which hosts the CFI national Secretariat) and other major stakeholders including civil society organizations and the private sector.
During the first quarter of the year, the Agroforestry Taskforce proposed a national stakeholders’ dialogue on tree registration. Approval was granted by the National Steering Committee during their March meeting. The dialogue will include major actors supporting and piloting the tree registration framework and will discuss the practical challenges of implementation. The idea is to build on previous stakeholders’ efforts to collectively identify relevant actions that should be taken to address identified challenges.
Civil society organizations and donor partners have been working on tree tenure over the last few years and there is a high level of interest in finding solutions to challenges they face. The Agroforestry Task Force and the CFI Secretariat has had several consultations with key stakeholders which has led them to partner on a national Stakeholder Dialogue on tree registration in Ghana, which will allow agreement on the way forward with registration.
This was led by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources. The Dialogue was held on the 26 June (field experience of the registration process) and 27 June (open dialogue) and discussed the path to operationalize tree registration at the local level. The two-day dialogue took place in Koforidua, Eastern Region. Key partners included:
- Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (National Secretariat of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative)
- Forestry Commission
- Ghana Cocoa Board
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
- Olam Ghana Limited
- Mondelez International – Cocoa Life Program
- World Cocoa Foundation
The outcomes of the dialogue were as follows:
- Current tree registration system was evaluated and a way forward defined. A committee was set up to consolidate all registration issues discussed during the dialogue. The committee will be headed by CFI and hosted by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources. They will tease out and finalize moving the process forward.
- Tree Registration Modalities – A three-member committee was set up with a deadline of 15 July. They are to consolidate the manuals put together by the World Cocoa Foundation as well as that of Resource Management Support Center of Forestry Commission.
With the agreed outcomes, all stakeholders are ready to join hands in the tree registration process.