Olam and Rainforest Alliance announce world’s first climate-friendly cocoa
Olam International Limited and Rainforest Alliance have teamed up to produce the world’s first “climate-friendly cocoa” in Ghana as part of their ongoing collaboration. Working with cocoa farmers in the Western region of the country, this $1 million project will have huge impact on informing Ghana’s emerging national REDD+* strategy and its Low Carbon Development plans.
This programme has been launched in the Juabeso / Bia district, an area that borders a national park and a forest reserve. Cocoa completely dominates the landscape in this region and illegal encroachment into forest areas is still observed. Tensie Whelan, President of Rainforest Alliance said, “This collaboration with Olam offers an ideal opportunity to stop the deforestation of this sensitive area so that we can protect biodiversity in standing forests while at the same time planting 100 hectares of native tree species for carbon sequestration in the fight against climate change.”
The programme will start with training and logistical support for 2,000 farmers in 13 communities and will increase throughout the project. The focus will be on improving and increasing production through sustainable farming practices – specifically teaching farmers how the carbon stocks of cocoa, shade trees and soil can be improved by developing specific farming practices. These will enable communities to adapt to the changing climate whilst at the same time mitigate the potential adverse changes.
Simple farmer-friendly tools to estimate on-farm biomass, conduct tree inventories, calculate carbon stocks and estimate and monitor GHG emissions will be developed, enabling farmers to implement climate-friendly farming. Farmers will be trained to develop the capacity to assess the risk that climate change poses to their livelihoods and to design and implement adaptation plans for their farms and at landscape level with farmers associations. Those groups will be strengthened through training in business and organisational skills. They will be prepared for audits and hence would benefit from Rainforest Alliance certification, ensuring long term market access to the end buyer.
Gerard Manley, Managing Director, Cocoa, Olam International Limited commented, “The private sector has a key role to play in working with farmers to improve their farming practices, helping to generate better livelihoods, as well as protecting natural habitats. We will continue to work with Rainforest Alliance to ensure the long-term viability of the cocoa sector and prosperity for the local communities.”
The mid-term goal of this programme is to ensure that the climate-friendly farm level practices are escalated and replicated to a landscape and forest management level.