Environmentally Sustainable Production Practices in Cocoa Landscapes (ESP II)


UNDP_GH_SUSDEV_ESPII_Ghana_Shade trees in Cocoa Farms_Nicolas Petit-1Promoting shade trees on cocoa farms - Photocredit: Nicolas Petit, January 2017.

The Environmentally Sustainable Production Practices in Cocoa Landscapes Phase II (ESP Phase II)” is a continuation and the second phase of the Environmental Sustainability and Policy (ESP I) for Cocoa Production in Ghana Project. This project is jointly implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in close collaboration with the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and the Mondelēz International Cocoa Life Programme as the donor.

Cocoa plays a key role in the Ghanaian economy employing about 800,000 smallholder farmers. It is the second largest export out of Ghana, with an increase in export earnings of $2,612.87 million in 2014 . However, the increase in cocoa productivity has been largely attributed to farm expansions and to a lesser extent due to access to improved and high yielding seeds and farm inputs. In Ghana, cocoa production is carried out in two main agro-ecological zones: in the moist semi-deciduous forest (i.e. Eastern, Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, and Central Regions) and high rainforest (i.e. Western Region) with an estimated cultivation area of over 1.6 million ha.

A baseline study conducted on environment in the cocoa sector in 2011 showed that while cocoa production has intensified over the last three decades, it is because of expansion into forests with significant forest losses due to the promotion of zero shade systems and movements of the timber sector. A significant consequence of deforestation, which has significantly affected cocoa production, is the loss of major soil nutrients, which is now a leading cause of the gradual decline of national cocoa yields.

The project aims to meet two broad objectives as follows:
1. Farmers in the Cocoa Life program adopt environmentally sustainable and climate change resilient cocoa production practices on their farms;
2. Cocoa production landscapes in the Cocoa Life communities and districts are managed sustainably to conserve ecosystems and natural resources.

The new phase- ESP II is designed to build on results and lessons learned from the current phase, and scale up Pillar V activities to cover all Cocoa Life in 330 communities in 14 districts by adopting three key strategies.

1. Mainstreaming of environmentally sustainable production practices into farmer extension training. The main element of this strategy is to develop training modules on selected environmental sustainability practices and train CEAs and other IPs to enable them to also train farmers on the selected practices (using the trainer of trainer’s concept).
2. Ensuring long-term ecosystem protection at the district to community levels by establishing three Community Resource Management Areas (CREMA) in selected districts to govern local resources and ecosystem management in cocoa landscapes. While the farmer based interventions will ensure change and improvements at the farm level, it is crucial to sustain this at the landscape level. Hence, the CREMA establishment, a mechanism that allows communities to jointly manage natural resources of a larger ecosystem with relevant stakeholders will ensure long-term sustainability and scaling up of interventions.
3. Policy engagement with government on land tenure and tree tenure rights. Securing tree tenure rights for farmers engaged in the tree plantings on cocoa farms by establishing a tree registration mechanism with the Forestry Commission will incentivise farmers to implement and scale up ESP practices.

Expected results of this project are as follows:

1.     To effectively mainstream environmentally sustainable cocoa production practices into farmer training curricula by building the technical capacities of CHED CEAs mandated to provide farmer level training.

2.     Farmers in the project districts adopt environmental sustainable cocoa production practices on farms.

3.     Increased shade trees and carbon stocks on cocoa farms and in cocoa landscapes to provide short to long-term environmental and socio-economic benefits to farmers.

4.     The establishment of three Community Resource Management Areas to govern the use of natural resources at the landscape level including fire management; sacred groves protection and water resources management.

5.     Policy engagements with the government on land tenure and tree tenure rights.



The total budget is US$ $1,850,002.59, and it is financed by the Mondelēz International Cocoa Life Program.

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