Productivity Protection and Resilience in Cocoa Landscapes

To halt deforestation driven by cocoa production in Ghana, Partnerships for Forests is supporting a consortium led by Touton to achieve a deforestation-free cocoa landscape in the Juabeso and Bia Districts of Western Ghana and develop a market for climate-smart cocoa beans.


Cocoa is Ghana’s most important agricultural commodity. It accounts for roughly 57 percent of all agricultural exports and supports the livelihoods of some 2.5 million rural farmers and their dependants.

Production is predominant in high forests zones; the Western Region, which holds the largest area of remaining primary forest, produces over 50 percent of the country’s cocoa beans.

In recent years, Ghana’s forests have come under severe threat from agricultural expansion — accounting for nearly 140,000 hectares of High Forest Zone (HFZ) loss annually. Responsible for over a quarter, cocoa production is the single biggest driver.

The underlying causes of this are manifold. A shortage of financial and technical support for sustainable cocoa production pushes expansion into forest areas. Forest loss is exacerbated by a lack of incentives to maintain trees on farms; a lack of land-use planning and landscape management; and a lack of collaboration amongst cocoa stakeholders.

The Project

As part of efforts to reverse this trend, agro-industrial company Touton is leading is leading a consortium of partners in the Partnership for Productivity Protection and Resilience in Cocoa Landscapes (3PRCL). The project will develop and pilot a landscape-wide governance framework in the Western region’s Juabeso-Bia landscape.

In collaboration with the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), local NGOs and CBOs, District Assemblies, and Traditional Authorities, the project provides farm-level support to 60,000 cocoa farmers to improve their livelihoods for the long-term. It will increase productivity in way that’s environmentally sustainable and develop incentive mechanisms for communities and cocoa farmers.

Service Providers are trained and supported at Rural Service Centres. Here farmers are able to access agro-services such as training and individual coaching on rehabilitation, productivity and intensification, as well access to finance — enabling them to diversify their livelihoods and enjoy greater food security. Service Providers, in turn, go on to engage the wider community with training and assistance in good agricultural practices, reducing encroachment and deforestation around the existing Krokosua and Bia forest.

At the district level, the project aims to establish a landscape forest governance board with oversight of land-use management and forest protection. By adopting a jurisdictional approach, the partnership will ensure that all stakeholders across the cocoa sector commit to, and collaborate on, achieving climate-smart cocoa — tied to Ghana’s Emission Reduction Programme.

The input of Forestry Commission and Ghana’s COCOBOD as partners will strengthen and reinforce the existing regulatory framework to ensure a sustainable cocoa supply chain. And as the first pilot of both the Ghana Cocoa and Forests Emission Reduction Programme, 3PRCL will contribute towards early action under the Cocoa and Forests Initiative, launched in London with support from HRH the Prince of Wales in 2017.


The consortium was joined by the President of Ghana at the memorandum of understanding signing.


The project aims to catalyse investment from the private sector to preserve approximately 160,000 hectares of protected forest reserve and deliver socio-economic benefits to an estimated 150,000 people by 2020.

Covering approximately a quarter of the entire forest area, it is expected to reduce up to 2.3 million tons of carbon emissions each year. In turn, this has the potential to generate USD 11.5 million in carbon revenue from the Carbon Fund.

By targeting 60,000 smallholder cocoa farmers, the project is expected to generate around GBP 14 million in input supply, of which an estimated GBP 2.3 million will be injected into the local economy.


Lead Organisation: Touton S.A.

Implementing Organisations:

Private: Touton S.A.

Public: Ghana Forestry Commission, Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD)

Civil society: SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, Agro Eco Louis Bolk Institute, Nature Conservation Research Centre

Current status