Some chocolate production companies are at the receiving end of blames for the worrying spate of deforestation in cocoa-producing countries, especially Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, as a result of failed promises.
According to a report of new data analysis by a global advocacy organization, Mighty Earth, titled, Sweet Nothings, companies such as Nestle, Hershey’s, Mondelez and Mars, reneged on their promises to stop the destruction of forests to make way for the expansion of cocoa farms in cocoa-producing countries.
Mr. Obed Owusu-Addai. Managing Convener of Ecocare Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organization(NGO), who addressed the media in Accra, said the report revealed that, Ghana lost 39.497 hectares and Cote d’Ivoire 19,421 of forest cover in 2019 to new cocoa farms.
“More than four years after the high-profile launch of the Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI), Africa’s top cocoa-producing nations continue to see huge areas of forest being destroyed to make room for cocoa production,” Mr. Addai-Owusu disclosed.
The Cocoa and Forest Initiative (CFI) is an active commitment of top cocoa-producing countries with leading chocolate and cocoa companies to end deforestation and restore forest areas, through no further conversion of any forest land for cocoa production.
Mr. Addai-Owusu is of the view that commitments made by chocolate companies in the CFI, have not been followed through.
“The Cocoa and Forest Initiative (CFI) has lots of potential but currently is not living up to it. It promised so much but is failing to deliver. Cocoa and chocolate companies have a duty to protect the environment or risk losing the commodity they depend on forever because the current situation is unsustainable,” he warned.
He reiterated the report’s recommendation that leading chocolate companies and cocoa traders play active role in the restoration of degraded forest and biodiversity in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, while the CFI public report progress in reducing deforestation in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire with the aim of achieving zero new deforestation for cocoa within two years.
These, among others, Mr. Obed Addai-Owusu and Mighty Earth believe, would help eliminate or reduce the incidence of destruction of forest for cocoa production.