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.
The Sui River Forest Reserve is one of the most important cocoa-producing landscapes in Ghana, but has lost one-third of its forests due to indiscriminate logging, illegal farming and demand for fuelwood.
The landscape is home to around 50,000 smallholder farmers. Many have old farms and limited experience in improved cocoa production, resulting in low yields, poor income levels, limited access to finance, inadequately diversified income sources and little incentive to keep the forest intact.
Helping farmers to increase yields and income would reduce the need to encroach the forest.
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.
The project will incentivise 10,000 cocoa farmers to sustainably manage 155,000 hectares of the Sui River Forest Reserve, and so protect the 97,500 hectares of forest it contains.
Landscape Management Boards (LMBs) will be established to protect the forest, promoting sustainable and certified cocoa production. These 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.
By 2020 it is estimated that 155,000 hectares will have been brought under sustainable management, catalysing £31 million of supply chain investment from licensed buying companies, including Olam.
Lead Organisation: Rainforest Alliance
Public: Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and Ghana Forestry Commission
Private: Olam Ghana
Civil Society: Rainforest Alliance, and local communities (farmers)
- Current status