President of World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), Mr Richard Scobey, has underscored the need for collaboration between government and the cocoa and forest industry players to eliminate deforestation and land degradation caused by small-scale miners in the country.
“We all have the responsibilities to play a leading role to help the government to fight illegal small-scale mining activities, l want to say that the continuous invasion of the forest reserves by the small-scale miners poses a major challenge to cocoa and forests,” Mr Scobey stressed.
Speaking at the launch of the national implementation plan of Ghana cocoa and forests initiative in Accra, Mr Scobey called on the Ministry for Lands and Natural Resources, Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOB), Forestry Commission and Minerals Commission to step up efforts to regularise activities of illegal miners to protect the cocoa sector and forest reserves in the country.
According to him, the cocoa sector was facing a major challenge of informal mining, saying that the World Cocoa Foundation was concerned about the invasion of forests and cocoa farms by illegal miners (galamsey operators).
Disclosing plans for ending cocoa-driven deforestation, Mr Scobey pledged his commitment to join the cocoa sector players to eliminate deforestation and land degradation.
He added that the implantation plan of the cocoa and forests initiative was very promising that points to a future where cocoa farming was no longer a cause of deforestation in Ghana.
In the 2015/2016-crop year, Ghana bagged only 690,000 metric tonnes of cocoa beans, despite a target of 850,000 metric tonnes. It therefore missed its target by 160,000 metric tonnes. The shortfall was attributed to poor managerial policies of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), and unfavourable weather conditions. Figures from COCOBOD indicated that, the country’s highest output for cocoa production was 1,024,552 metric tonnes that was recorded in the 2010/2011-crop season.
Story: News Desk