EcoCare Ghana has told the Ghana government to collaborate with chocolate companies to adhere to pledges in the Cocoa Forest Initiative (CFI) to avoid future chocolate scarcity.
A few days ago, Ghana marked its ‘Chocolate Day’ simultaneously with Valentine’s Day which the citizenry used chocolate to show love to loved ones.
Though this event has been very successful in the last few years, there is now concern that it may collapse in the next decade or two because according to a study by Mighty Earth, cocoa remains a leading driver in the destruction of protected areas in Ghana.
With Ghana and Ivory Coast —two countries failing to adhere to pledges in the Cocoa Forest Initiative— cited in the Sweet Nothings report, it is projected that it could massively affect the production of cocoa in the future.
When this happens, according to the managing campaigner of EcoCare Ghana, Obed Owusu-Addai, will impact negatively on cocoa production.
Effect of CFI on chocolate production
The tripling effect will then tell on the manufacturing of chocolates not only for consumption in Ghana but for the rest of the world, he noted.
Speaking to journalists at a press conference in Accra on Monday, February 14, 2022, Mr Owusu-Addai stressed that the government of Ghana must as a matter of urgency work with chocolate-producing companies to adhere to pledges in the Cocoa Forest Initiative.
“What we have found through this report is that five years down the line deforestation caused by Cocoa is still happening. We are not saying that cocoa alone is causing deforestation but we are looking at the contribution of Cocoa to deforestation and that is what this report is about.
“The recommendation in this report is that the governments of Ghana and Ivory Coast should work with chocolate companies to go back to the drawing board, refer to the pledges that they made including not sourcing from forest reserves,” the EcoCare Ghana managing campaigner told journalists.
He added, “Today is National chocolate day and I’m sure everybody is enjoying a piece of chocolate today. Unfortunately from what this report has found, if we are not careful and we don’t stop deforestation then the chocolate that we are enjoying today then probably in 10 or 20 years from now chocolate will not be there to enjoy.”
Just about four and a half years ago Ghana together with Ivory Coast and 32 other cocoa companies signed a statement of intent [Cocoa Forest Initiative] with the purpose of minimizing and dealing with deforestation.
After close to five years, Mighty Earth has uncovered through a study that pledges in Cocoa Forest Initiative are not being adhered to.
Côte d’Ivoire lost 19,421 hectares (2%) of its forest since the Cocoa Forest Initiative action plans were published in January 2019, whilst Ghana has lost an astonishing 39,497 hectares of forest with a staggeringly high rate of deforestation of 3.9% since that time.
This amounts to a combined area of tropical Forest lost in the two countries equivalent to the cities of Madrid, Seoul, or Chicago.
The report recommends that companies that produce chocolates, cocoa traders, government traders, and governments must pool information about cocoa supply chains, and couple this with satellite data imagery to establish an open and transparent deforestation monitoring mechanism in 2022.
The report recommends that in Ghana, the Government’s Forestry Commission, together with the Ghana Cocoa Board, needs to ensure that the emerging Cocoa Management System (CMS), which is intended to trace the cocoa supply chain, is designed in a transparent manner so that stakeholders will have trust and confidence in the data that it will produce.