Agricultural journalists have been schooled in Accra on the Cocoa and Forest Initiative (CFI), in order to end deforestation and promote forest protection and restoration in the cocoa supply chain.

The day’s training which took place in Accra at the Erata Hotel on 18th July, 2019, was organized by EcoCare Ghana, a rights-based campaign and advocacy organization duly registered to operate as a non-governmental organization.

EcoCare Ghana, is envisioned to seek an inclusive society, making people-centred decisions that reflects the development aspirations and the sustenance of the resource.

This training was as part of the NGOs efforts to the Monitoring Cocoa and Forest Initiative (CFI) Commitments Through Participatory Approaches (MoCCPA) project, which is financed by
Rainforest Alliance/UTZ through their Sector Partnership (SP) Programmes.

In his presentation at the training,
the Managing Campaigner of EcoCare Ghana, Mr. Obed Owusu-Addai, explained that, the project in-part looks at getting local farming communities and farmer-based organizations involved in monitoring company commitments in the Cocoa & Forest Initiative (CFI) programme within two very active Hotspot Intervention Areas (HIAs) in Ghana through participatory monitoring approaches.

He also said, the project looks at building capacity of stakeholders including the media to actively monitor and report on CFI implementation activities. “We are expecting the media to follow through the implementation, move to the communities and report on the progress and implementation.’’

Mr. Owusu-Addai, said the media would play a major role through investigative reporting to ensure that, various stakeholders were accountable for their commitments.

He further challenged the journalists to develop interest in ensuring that the CFI was implemented.

According to Jim, the initiative was started in 2017, and the implementation was however launched in 2018 with two phases. And the first phase he said, started from 2017 through to 2022 where ” Stakeholders are working on the system developed for the project, and in the second phase, after the system development, the stakeholders would then move into the local communities and sensitize the local residents to understand the project,” he noted.

Also speaking at the training, the country programs manager for World Cocoa Foundation (WCF/CFI), Mr. Vincent Awotwi-Pratt, intimated that, from the onset of the project, only 12 companies were committed. 34 he said, have currently, committed to work towards the implementation of the project including two local companies.

“All the companies through WCF have come together to aggregate their action plans with the national action plan as a guide,” he said.

It was on the backdrop of this that, on November 2017 UN Climate Change Conference (COP23), top cocoa-producing countries like Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana with leading chocolate and cocoa companies announced far-reaching Cocoa & Forests Initiative Frameworks for Action.

Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, including the 34 Cocoa & Forests Initiative companies released action plans that outlined pragmatic measures to end cocoa-related deforestation.

These action plans according to Mr. Awotwi-Pratt, focuses on: forest protection and restoration, sustainable cocoa production and farmers’ livelihoods, and community engagement and social inclusion.

However, he said, the aforementioned aggregated action plans would play important role in taking care of carbon stocks in West African forests and as well as addressing global and local climate change, which falls in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

In all, about 34 journalists drawn from various media houses in Accra, including some members of the Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA), partook in the training.

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