Over 240 thousand farmers from 1,400 communities in Ghana’s seven cocoa-producing regions are benefiting from the Carbon Emission Fund in direct payments and community projects.
Ghana has begun disbursement of the 4.8 million dollars received from the World Bank under the Ghana Cocoa Forest Redd Plus Programme.
Carbon emissions reduced in 2019 alone under the programme is about 973,000 tons, which can be compared to taking 200 cars off the road.
In 2019, Ghana signed a 5-year Emission Reductions Payment Agreement with the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility Carbon Fund, administered by the World Bank.
The agreement unlocked performance-based payments of up to USD50 million for carbon emission reductions from the forest and land use sectors.
Ghana became the third country in Africa after Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo to sign the agreement with 10 million tons of emissions expected to be realised in six years.
Forest degradation and deforestation are driven primarily by cocoa farm expansion, illegal logging and illegal mining.
Increase in cocoa production means more forests are cut to pave way for cocoa seedlings.
But the agreement sought to reverse the trend as Ghana became the second country in Africa, after Mozambique.
The Forestry Commission and the Ghana Cocoa Board have been working in partnership to reduce carbon emissions through the promotion of climate-smart cocoa production.
World Bank released the funds in January 2023 after assessment and verification, but institution of due diligence measures delayed disbursement.
Speaking at a commemorative payment event at Akyiawkrom in the Ashanti region on July 20, 2023, Environmental Specialist with the World Bank, Darshani De Silva, commended Ghana for being the second African country to receive the payment.
“It is encouraging to see many farmers have reported that at least, there’s a 2-fold increase in cocoa yields as a result of sustainable practices, “she said.
“The more you sustain, the more you can get from livelihoods. We are hoping that this will boost the confidence of future investors,” Ms De Silva added.
Deputy Lands Minister, Benito Owusu-Bio, is elated the Redd Plus programme will not only yield the country reduced carbon emissions, but also help boost cocoa production in Ghana.
“The programme anticipates that in 6-years, about 10 million tons of emission reduction will be realised.”
It is important to note that the programme is designed to produce both carbon and non-carbon benefits. The non-carbon benefits are direct increases in cocoa yields.”
More payments are expected for the period between 2020 and 2022 as Ghana awaits a World Bank verification.
Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, John Allotey wants Ghanaians to support the programme by preventing drivers of deforestation and afforestation.
“What is required is that they go out there, make sure we reduce the drivers of deforestation, wildfires, expansion of agriculture into forest reserves, cutting down of trees in the cocoa farms and also plant more trees. At least, we are hoping that we should plant a minimum of 18 trees per hectare.”