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"Ghana, Ivory Coast must collaborate to fight cocoa driven deforestation" – Benito Owusu-Bio

Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Lands and Forestry, Benito Owusu-Bio has made a strong case for Ghana and Ivory Coast to strengthen collaborative efforts towards the production of cocoa and the protection of their respective forest reserves.

Speaking at Cocoa Forest Initiative (CFI) event held by the Ivorian Ministry of Water and Forest as part of the ongoing COP28 in the United Arab Emirates, Hon. Owusu-Bio observed that with the two country’s being responsible for 60% of global cocoa production, it is important for them to join forces and deal with the issue of climate change.

“As you know Ghana and Cote D'Ivoire produce over 60 percent of the world's cocoa supplies and it means that cocoa is a very important commodity which we cannot do away with"

"It also means that we have to be careful since there are competing land-uses for food production, cocoa cultivation, mining and forest conservation”, he said.

“This is where we need to strengthen our collaboration to ensure the sustainability of our production, halt deforestation and forest degradation and eventually contribute to global efforts to fight climate change”, he added.

Hon. Benito Owusu-Bio also commended the two countries for their historically rich collaborations especially in the area of cocoa production.

He noted since the establishment of the CFI, Ghana and Ivory Coast have effectively combined efforts to ensure that cocoa production in both countries is done with minimal impact on the environment.

As the CFI progresses to CFI 2.0, Hon. Benito reckons the responsibility has been placed on both Ghana and Ivory Coast to step up efforts.

He also indicated the readiness of the government of Ghana to team up with the private sector to pursue a path of dealing with cocoa driven deforestation.

“The Cocoa and Forest Initiative has demonstrated to be a valuable tool to attract private sector involvement in the fight against cocoa driven deforestation"

"It is therefore important to strengthen and sustain this unique partnership to ensure that cocoa is produced legally with minimal effect on our forest”, he reiterated.

“We, in Ghana, remain absolutely committed to CFI and will continue to collaborate with our partners from the World Cocoa Foundation, IDH Sustainable Trade and the Chocolate and cocoa producing companies"

"We would also like to encourage learning exchange visits with our counterparts in Cote d’ Ivoire . This will ensure effective and efficient implementation and functioning of the CFI Secretariats in both countries”, he stated.

“Ghana and Cote D'Ivoire have actively participated and organized CFI events in 3 successive COPs starting from Cop26 in Glasgow, COP 27 in Sharm El Sheikh and now CoP 28 in Dubai.

In each of these, we have worked closely together to ensure that we are able to share knowledge on how to halt deforestation due to Cocoa production in our respective countries,”he said.

Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith



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