Dr Augustus Asamoah, the Principal Project Manager of Proforest, a non-profit organsition for the sustainable use of natural resources, said government was set to launch the Ghana National REDD+ Strategy to address issues inherent in deforestation and commodity production.
He said the Strategy would help improve multi-stakeholder dialogue and decision making and mitigate effects of agricultural expansion, particularly of cocoa, oil palm, rubber and timber.
He said concerns have been raised over the myriad of environmental and social challenges associated with agriculture and forestry commodity production, with calls on governments and supply chain companies to put in place adequate measures to address them.
Dr Asamoah said this on the sidelines of a Stakeholder Sensitization Workshop on Engagement Principles for Production Landscape Initiatives in Takoradi.
It was attended by District Directors of Agriculture, staff of the Ghana Cocoa Board, and the Forestry Commission.
He said the Government had put in place policy and policy processes to help address issues inherent in commodity production, whilst supply chain companies had developed corporate policies and voluntary market standards that commit them to environmentally sustainable and socially responsible production systems.
He said Cocoa, oil palm, rubber and timber accounted for about 20 per cent of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product but were partly responsible for the high rate of deforestation within the agro-forest mosaic in the country.
He said Proforest’s Production Landscape Programme, funded by the Department of Foreign and International Development (DFID) of the British Government, was to develop guidance on Engagement Principles to help supply chain companies align with national and subnational policy processes.
The Engagement Principles seek to provide information on the available national and subnational policy processes and initiatives with which private supply chain companies could align to address environmental and social challenges in agro-commodity production.
It also assists such companies and organisations to forge closer collaboration to address challenges in the production of forest-risk agro-commodities.
Dr Asamoah noted that the environmental and social issues associated with agro-commodity production were not restricted to only one community or farmers within a restricted area, but were often widespread throughout the production landscape and, therefore, required interventions that transcended supply sheds for maximum impact.
He said the companies needed to collaborate with other organisations to achieve a positive impact on issues such as deforestation, child labour, gender inequality and disease outbreaks.