From full sun to shaded cocoa agroforestry systems: Rehabilitation of smallholder cocoa farms and forest ecosystems for enhanced conservation and sustainable use of forestry resources in the High Forest zone of Ghana
As of: July 2021
Deforestation, caused by the expansion of plantations, low productivity, food insecurity and an unregulated forestry sector, is a real threat to Ghana’s High Forest Zone. This project is therefore funding the retention and sustainable use of forest resources in the Ghanaian High Forest Zone. By working with cocoa businesses, smallholders and the local authorities, the project aims to rehabilitate degraded smallholder farms and forest ecosystems. The project also helps companies establish deforestation-free supply chains. Strategic planning programmes are also being implemented, and a system for land use planning is being developed that will enable local authorities to achieve a better balance between cocoa farm expansion and forest conservation. The project is also working on measures to achieve the widespread, ecologically intact and community-focused rehabilitation of smallholder-centric agroforestry systems (using native tree species).
State of implementation/results
- Over 1,800 beneficiary farmers are adopting cocoa agroforestry systems using recommended shaded trees in 25 communities.
- Four community nurseries were established which produced over 2.4 million planting materials including cocoa seedlings, plantain suckers and indigenous tree species. Over 70% of beneficiary farmers are registered with either RA/UTZ or Fairtrade certification.
- The project has developed land use plans for 15 communities covering a total area of 29,000 hectares.
- The Ghana Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) donated 264 litres of foliar fertilizer and 24 litres of insecticides to farmers that have replanted their cocoa farms under the project. A total of 180 farmers benefited from the input distribution and got training on the proper application of the fertilizers.
- A reserve encroachment remediation committee made up of ten influential traditional leaders has been established to help address the high incidence of farm encroachment into Krokosua Hills Forest Reserve located in Juabeso district (adjacent Bia West district).
- As part of efforts to enhance opportunities for access to finance for smallholder cocoa farmers, SNV has established a partnership with Solidaridad West Africa (SWA) in order to jointly establish and increase the number of village savings and loans associations in Juabeso-Bia landscape.
- Land use plans and constitution have been developed for two community resource areas (CREMAs) bordering the Bia National Park (BNP) and the Bia North Forest Reserve (BNFR). An overarching management plan has been developed to guide community efforts in sustainable management of their natural resources in the two CREMAs.
- The project in partnership with Touton (a private partner) and technical support from Satelligence, a remote sensing and forest monitoring firm, have been able to delineate cocoa from open forest, identify various shades of cocoa agroforest, detect deforestation associated with cocoa, and locate illegal cocoa farms in forest reserves.
- Five private companies have expressed interest in utilising land use/cover change maps developed under the project to monitor no-deforestation in their supply chain.
- SNV and the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) conducted field surveys to evaluate the early impacts and barriers to adoption of climate smart cocoa.
- SNV and Forestry Commission have commissioned the development of a geo-portal for Ghana’s National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS). The assignment includes technology, capacity, and an end user/institutional needs assessment, to inform the development of the NFMS portal and centralized database.
- Plans have advanced to train selected GIS/Remote sensing experts from public agencies and forestry research institutions in the application of Google’s cloud-based geospatial analysis platform and associated tools. The training is expected to enhance the computational power necessary to analyse vast data and facilitate efficient production of land use cover maps and relevant data for forest monitoring. The training is planned for the first week of May 2021.
- 20 cocoa farmer cooperatives have been established with 50 memberships each. These cooperatives were trained in group dynamics, financial literacy, village savings and loans (VSLA) concepts, and are linked to licensed buying companies (LBCs).
- Value chain assessment of cocoa “companion” crops was conducted on plantain, cassava and permanent economic shade trees in cocoa agroforestry system. The assessment aims to establish the dynamics and profitability of these “companion” crops in cocoa agroforestry systems as well as potential to further develop these value chains as viable livelihood support for farmers renovating their overaged cocoa farms.
- A total of 432 farmers benefitted from the cocoa hybrid seedlings and permanent shade trees raised, to plant an area of 626 hectares. All these farms have been mapped and basic farmer profile information compiled.
- Further, a total of 958 farms rehabilitated in 2017/18 cropping season were inspected.