Climate smart cocoa

Climate change in cocoa in Ghana is a serious issue for all value chain actors. This was highlighted by the wide interest and support at the kick-off workshop held by the CCAFS Climate Smart Value Chains team in Accra, Ghana yesterday (May 11th, 2015).

Among the more than 70 participants were key government actors such as the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), the Forestry Commission, the  Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), the Ministry of Finance and the Minerals Commission.

Private sector actors included Barry Callebaut, Mars Inc, Nestlé, Mondelez, OLAM, Cargill, and several Ghanaian owned Licensed Buying Companies (Kuapa Kokoo Ltd, Cocoa Merchants limited and Diaby Limited) and various input providers.

Civil society was well represented by voluntary sustainability standards setters Rainforest Alliance, UTZ and Fairtrade, certification Bodies (RACERT & AFRICERT) World Cocoa Foundation, NGOs active in the cocoa sector, the National House of Chiefs and producer groups.

From the research side there was active participation from CCAFS (CIAT and IITA), CRS & FORIG of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, (or Crops Research Institute & Forest Research Institute of Ghana), ICRAF, IFPRI, University of Ghana, and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

Donor interest was also strong with participants from USAID, the Netherlands Embassy, UNDP, the World Bank and IFDC. From the Climate Smart Value Chain team, IITA and Rainforest Alliance organized the workshop while CIAT, Root Capital and the Sustainable Food Lab actively participated in the presentations and discussions.

Opening comments at the workshop by COCOBOD and the Forestry Commission focused on the need for greater work on climate smart cocoa as part of the new COCOBOD strategic plan as well as the World Bank funded Emission Reduction Program (ERP) and Forest Investment Program (FIP). It was heartening to see the clear collaboration between COCOBOD and the Forestry Commission which provide an ideal audience for the climate science outputs from this project.

Following these presentations, the Climate Smart Value Chains team presented an overview of the project including previous work on climate change and cocoa in West Africa, an introduction to the CCAFS program, an overview of project goals and activities, a preview of improved climate exposure mapping gradients for cocoa in Ghana and a project timeline (presentation here). This project seeks to add value to on-going activities in the cocoa sector and not re-invent the wheel. Central to this is the establishment and facilitation of multi-stakeholder platforms with key stakeholders to ensure fit between project outputs and sector needs to contribute to the overarching desired outcome of all participants: a competitive and climate smart Ghanaian cocoa sector.

The remainder of the morning and early afternoon was spent in participatory exercises to map on-going activities in the cocoa sector, review existing social networks and identify the major opportunities and threats to achieving climate smart cocoa from the perspectives of the different actors. Project members captured these critical inputs to analyze how to improve the project and best align it with stakeholder interests and needs.

The workshop concluded with an overview of how cocoa stakeholders can engage with the project either on specific technical issues such as exposure gradient mapping or identifying relevant climate smart agricultural (CSA) practices relevant for different levels of climate change or as members of the multi-stakeholder platform either at the national or sub-national levels.

Key outcomes from the workshop include:

  • A clear interest from a broad-section of the Ghanaian cocoa sector to better understand what climate change means for cocoa in Ghana, how it will impact different areas of the country and what the most appropriate CSA practices are to promote to manage these impacts;
  • Demand for actionable tools that can be tested and rapidly scaled up that help actors in the sector respond to climate change in ways that contribute to productivity and profits for farmers and other actors in the value chain;
  • Potential to use tangible research findings to support on-going activities such as the emerging COCOBOD strategy as well as the Forestry Commission ERP and PIP programs funded by the World Bank and others;
  • Positive energy to continue engagement and conversations that bring together disparate pieces of previous and on-going work, identify synergies and add value to the entire cocoa sector.

As we write up the final results of the workshop, the challenge for the Climate Smart Value Chains team lies in identifying where we can best use our limited resources to assist existing cocoa sector actors to achieve their goals in terms of climate smart cocoa for Ghana. The next four years promise to be interesting and intense with the tremendous interest shown by the leaders in Ghanaian cocoa.

Re-posted from: