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Cocoa Farming Contributes to Deforestation – GCCP Responds to COCOBOD CEO

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The Ghana Civil Society Platform has rubbished claims made by the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Cocoa Board, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, which sought to shift blame of cocoa driven deforestation to timber loggers.

The CEO during a meeting with some group of cocoa manufacturers in Zurich is reported to have said he does not subscribe to the thinking that cocoa farming causes deforestation, but rather “loggers working for lumbering companies who sell the timber to Europe and Americans are the ones who enter those reserves and subdue the forest.”

He explained that though cocoa has been planted on lands in Ghana which in the past were reserved forests, the activities of lumbering companies reduced the forest before cocoa farmers converting the depleted vegetation into cocoa farms.

However in a response, Mr Obed Owusu-Addai, Co-Founder of EcoCare Ghana called the statement by the COCOBOD CEO as flawed and uninformed.

According to him, the phenomenon of cocoa being a leading driver of deforestation is well known to Forestry Commission, COCOBOD and other stakeholders in the cocoa sector.

“A recent Global Forest Watch report indicate that between 2017 and 2018, Ghana’s rate of deforestation rose by 60%, the highest in the world. The same report singled out agricultural expansion (in the middle and southern belt of Ghana) and mining (in the north) as leading cause of forest loss” he said.

He further indicated that, the response of Ghana Civil-society Cocoa Platform has been necessitated in the wake of rising threats of climate change; hence their interest in halting the practice through its Partnership for Productivity, Protection and Resilience in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degrading goals.

COCOBOD CEO’s claim is uninformed, Puts Ghana In bad space to fighting Deforestation

On his part, Mr. Emmanuel Ayifah, Deputy Country Director at SEND GHANA asserted that the statement by the COCOBOD Chief Executive Officer degrades Ghana’s commitment in fighting deforestation especially from the cocoa landscape.

”This statement by the COCOBOD CEO damages the most in the Cocoa and Forest Initiative whose central theme is the recognition that cocoa production is causing deforestation and that it can be minimized through collaborative efforts of government, civil society and cocoa companies” he added.

He however urged Mr. Aidoo to come clean on issues concerning cocoa-driven deforestation during further interaction with the international market to send a good signal and real facts on matters.

”We therefore call on the COCOBOD and its CEO to clarify their position on cocoa-driven deforestation, because this current position is not supported by the facts on the ground and by their own government statistics and research.” he stressed.

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