As a key player in the cocoa industry in Ghana and member of the Cocoa and Forests Initiative, Touton has been bold in taking the first step to put their commitment to deforestation free cocoa into action. They have lead a 6-partners consortium into a landscape project, that is closely aligned to the Forestry Commission and their efforts to reduce greenhouse gases under REDD+.
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The Project targets to increase cocoa productivity and farmers’ living conditions while reducing deforestation and forest degradation within a sustainable landscape. It aims to ultimately preserve approximately 160,000 hectares of protected forest reserve and deliver socioeconomic benefits to an estimated 150,000 people by 2020. To realize it’s goal, 3PRCL will:
- Establish partnerships to develop the landscape Governance System for Bia-Juaboso Hotspot Intervention Area (HIA).
- Develop and implement the National Climate Smart Cocoa Standard for deforestation free cocoa. The climate smart cocoa standard is complementary to existing efforts to help measure sustainability outcomes at the landscape scale.
- Develop traceability and national monitoring system for cocoa and forest that aligns with the Ghana Cocoa Forest Redd+ Programme Methodology.
It is the first pilot of the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme, the Partnership for Productivity Protection and Resilience in Cocoa Landscapes (3PRCL). The 3PRCL seeks to bring together all stakeholders living and working in Bia-Juaboso Administrative Districts of the Western region, and thereby catalyse investments. The Ghanaian Forestry Commission and Ghana Cocoa Board are co-conveners of the project with coordinating offices at both landscape and national level. Project activities are all being carried out in partnership with Government of Ghana, civil societies, and cocoa companies. Active partners signed up and working on the project include Ghana Forestry Commission, Ghana Cocoa Board, SNV, AgroEco, Nature Conservation Research Centre.
Touton as one of the 27 chocolate companies signed up to the CFI, is interested in sharing the lessons and experiences of the 3PRCL project. The idea is to encourage cocoa companies and other players in the landscape to implement similar forest protection projects in the cocoa growing regions of Ghana. In this light, in May, participants of the 2018 Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 General Assembly (held in Accra) journeyed to the Bia-Juabeso Districts to experience the implementation of the 3PRCL Project. Among other things, they watched the final match of the initial forest football tournament which is one of the participatory activities to bring stakeholders in the landscape together.
After 1 year of operation, the 3PRCL project has achieved several of its set out objectives. These include:
- Enhancing collaboration through the “Forest Stewardship Cup” Football tournament – sing Football as a tool to create awareness, recruit community forest guards, protect forest
- Multi-stakeholder Action to synergise efforts for greater landscape outcomes
- Leveraging investments into the cocoa landscape and incentivizing traditional authority, communities and farmers to protect forest while improving their livelihoods
- Developed, introduced and launched Vision and pathway for landscape governance
- Carried out Sociocultural study to inform the proposed governance structures
- Developed Draft governance structure and constitutions of HIA/sub-HIA and are being and validated
- Climate Smart Standard to bring multiple actors together and measure & report on sustainability outcomes at the landscape scale has been developed.
In order to achieve a deforestation-free cocoa landscape, support the development of a market for climate-smart cocoa beans, and develop a landscape-wide governance framework in the Juabeso-Bia landscape Touton is counting on full participation from all players in the landscape. Progress is steady, and collaboration is ensuring success.