Rainforest Alliance-Olam Partnership for Livelihoods and Forest Landscape Management in Western Ghana

Commodity
Cocoa
Type of partnership
Forest Partnership
Current status
Implementation

Partnerships for Forests is supporting the Rainforest Alliance-Olam Partnership for Livelihoods and Forest Landscape Management in Western Ghana to promote improved landscape governance: setting up Landscape Management Boards with a legal mandate to ensure forest protection while providing economic incentives for smallholder cocoa households.

Background

The rate of deforestation within the high forest zones of Ghana is alarmingly high — driven primarily by unsustainable cocoa production.

Olam, together with Rainforest Alliance and the Forestry Commission, partnered to combat this and implemented a climate-smart cocoa project in the Juaboso-Bia district in the Western Region of Ghana. Running from 2010-2014, the project focused on establishing a forest landscape governance structure and cocoa certification programme; sustainable forest management; development of forest enterprises; and climate change education.

The intervention resulted in noticeable increases in the volumes of certified and traceable cocoa and a massive reduction in forest encroachment in the area. It also provided communities with substantial social, environmental and economic benefits.

Following the project’s success, the partners have decided to replicate this model within a different landscape: the Sui-River Forest Reserve and the Boin River Forest Reserve.

This landscape, covering 61,190 hectares and home to approximately 50,000 households, is under threat. Indiscriminate logging, farming (shifting cultivation) and fuelwood generation, are causing massive deforestation and biodiversity destruction. Illegal farming and expansionist agriculture have become the norm.

The Project

Partnerships for Forests is supporting a partnership between Rainforest Alliance, Olam, the Ghana Forestry Commission, and the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to work with local communities and cocoa farming households to establish a local multi-stakeholder governance mechanism.

Landscape Management Boards (LMBs) will be established to protect the forest, promoting sustainable and certified cocoa production. The LMBs – landscape-level governance structures – will bring together community members, farmers, local chiefs, Forestry Commission representatives, opinion leaders, Olam representatives and land owners. The structure enables joint land-use planning and monitoring, plus the sustainable management of biodiversity and forest resources. Boards will ensure benefits are distributed to local communities equitably.

The LMBs will use an inclusive decision-making process: integrating consultations with producer groups (who will implement climate-smart and sustainable productive farming practices) and communities. They’ll encourage land-use planning that benefits crop production as well as conserving the forest. The national and local government will be involved to promote enabling policies, and to provide technical support for sustainable production practices and forest conservation.

The model will also work with farmers to help them meet best management practices of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) Standard and the Olam Livelihoods Charter.

The project will apply a proven model to an underperforming area to increase the volume of certified and traceable cocoa, improve yield and quality, and investment in long-term relationships.

By 2020 it is estimated that 56,000 ha will have been brought under sustainable management and £41,874,750 worth of private investment mobilised, benefiting 28,000 people.

 

Lead Organisation: Rainforest Alliance

Implementing Organisations:

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

Private: Olam Ghana

Civil Society: Save the Frogs! Ghana, Rainforest Alliance, and local communities (farmers)