CAMEROON – Cameroon has set up a policy framework for sustainable and zero-deforestation cocoa production led by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.
The ‘Roadmap to Deforestation-free Cocoa’ is a partnership between the public sector, private sector, civil society, farmer organizations, research institutions, development partners and other stakeholders in the value chain.
Its objective is the preservation and rehabilitation of forests that have been degraded by human activities, in particular encroachment by cocoa farms among other factors.
In addition, it aims to sustainably intensify and diversify farmers income in order to increase yields and livelihood, to grow more cocoa on less land and thereby reduce pressure on forests.
“We need to ensure that the cocoa sector not only flourishes but also benefits cocoa farmers and their communities as well as the environment. This is the only way to ensure the long-term sustainability of our cocoa economy.”Cameroon Agriculture Minister – Gabriel Mbairobe
Under the roadmap, there will be provision of improved seeds, and actions to increase soil fertility.
And most importantly, the framework focuses on engaging and empowering cocoa-growing communities.
The framework builds on the Cocoa & Forests Initiative’s Statement of Intent signed by the industry in 2017, through which companies committed to working together, pre competitively, to end deforestation and forest degradation in the cocoa supply chain.
“I confirm the support provided by the Government of Cameroon for the effective implementation of this policy framework. We need to ensure that the cocoa sector not only flourishes but also benefits cocoa farmers and their communities as well as the environment.
“This is the only way to ensure the long-term sustainability of our cocoa economy,” said Agriculture Minister Gabriel Mbairobe.
The country which is the 4th largest cocoa producer in the world is also committed to ensuring full traceability, from plantations to export terminals, of cocoa produced in the country by 2025.
A traceability system to identify and track the history, distribution and application of products will be set up to ensure the reliability of sustainability claims in the areas of human rights, child labour, environmental conservation and anti-corruption.
The proper implementation of this policy framework will help preserve the 46% of the national territory covered by forest which 11% is the Congo basin, the 2nd largest forest in the world after the Amazon rainforest.
The process is facilitated by IDH, the Sustainable Initiative, though funding from its institutional donors i.e., BUZA from The Netherlands, Swidish SECO and DANIDA of Denmark.
Meanwhile in world’s largest producer of cocoa, Ivory Coast, Nestlé group signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Water and Forests of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire for the implementation of the CHF 3.34 million (US$3.5m) project aimed to conserve and rehabilitate the Classified Forest of Cavally.
The investment will finance efforts to end deforestation within the forest reserve triggered by Cocoa farming.
It will also support transition pathways for farmers currently producing in the reserve and promote regenerative agriculture for areas around the reserve.
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