The Forestry Commission and Touton SA have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the Forestry CommissionHeadquarters in Accra. By the signing of this MoU, Touton SA seeks to establish a firm relationship with Forestry Commission to tackle deforestation in cocoa growing areas. This is aimed at the successful implementation of the Climate Smart Cocoa Project within the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme, which aims at producing deforestation-free and sustainable cocoa within the High Forest Zone of Ghana.
The MoU is set for a 5-year period, from 2016-2021, and it will target a minimum of 50,000 farmers. During this period, Forestry Commission will carry out forest restoration and security; biodiversity research, remote-sensing and GIS; and impact analysis of deforestation on regional rainfall patterns among others.
Touton SA on its part will work on the ground to demonstrate the importance of community land use planning in cocoa smart agriculture; promote biodiversity and ecological integrity through awareness creation on environmental stewardship in agreed communities; improve livelihoods through yield increase while enhancing carbon stocks ; and develop a financially sustainable incentive mechanism for cocoa-landscape governance with the aim of co-developing a cocoa landscape standard.
Mr. Samuel Afari Dartey, Chief Executive of Forestry Commission, signed the Agreement on behalf of the Commission, while Touton SA was represented by Mr Olivier Lieutard, the Deputy CEO of Touton SA. Present at this ceremony also were Mr. Yaw Kwakye, Head of the Climate Change Unit; Mrs Joyce Ofori Kwafo, Corporate Affairs and Media Relations Manager; Mr. Dennis Osei Hwere, Manager of the Legal Department; and other Touton SA officials.
In a brief statement, Mr. Samuel Afari Dartey mentioned that it was just right for Touton SA and Forestry Commission to come together in the fight against climate change in that there was the need to create a balance between forest and cocoa; a reduction in forest cover has a direct effect on cocoa production. He further mentioned that farming, which involves land clearing, contributes a great deal to forest loss as farmers keep expanding their farms, with the intention of getting higher yields without making maximum use of the available land.
Mr. Afari Dartey expressed sincere appreciation to Touton SA for their partnership with the Forestry Commission in reducing emissions within the forest-cocoa landscape. He was highly optimistic that the successful implementation of Emissions Reduction Programme (ERP) will put Ghana in a position to be able to respond well to the global climate menace while securing the country’s socio-economic development.
Mr. Olivier Lieutard on his part, lauded the partnership with the Forestry Commission and other Ghanaian organisations for coming out with an ambitious Emissions Reduction Programme. He believed the successful implementation of the Programme “will help pave the way for further cocoa-specific emission reduction initiatives in the wider West African region,” he concluded.