GHANA – Ghana, through the Oil Palm Development Association of Ghana (OPDAG) under the auspices of Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA), is set to regulate the oil palm sector to help transform and boost the economy through trading.

The move, targeting to manage cultivation and pricing of the commodity, is also aimed to enhance market access for palm oil value chain players and ensure that finished products meet both local and international market standards, reports Ghana News Agency.

“The license would help unveil bad practitioners of oil palm plantation to enable increase incomes of smallholder farmers and processors to generate economic growth and jobs,” Mr Paul Amaning, the National Organizer of OPDAG said.

He noted that substantial part of Ghana’s palm oil imports could be sourced locally from artisanal palm oil producers, if they met the quality requirements of both industrial users and palm oil exporters.

The National Organizer charged the participants to register their businesses to meet the requisite standards in order to enhance trading and also provide jobs to reduce unemployment and increase standard of living in the country.

“OPDAG the mouth piece of Ghana’s oil palm sector, is a private sector industry association with the focus of promoting socially responsible, ecologically and economically sustainable production, value addition and trading of oil palm in Ghana,” he added.

The association last year launched a five-year strategic plan, debut “Creating a Socially Responsible, Ecologically Sustainable and an Economically Vibrant and Inclusive Oil Palm Industry in Ghana.”

The plan is aimed to improve governance of the association, administrative structure, establish auditable financial management system as well as funding.

Easter chocolate scorecard launched in Ghana

In the cocoa sector, the West Africa nation has launched the Easter Chocolate Scorecard in Accra to drum home the need to promote sustainable cocoa production in the world, especially in cocoa producing countries.

The Scorecard programme, introduced in 2018 in America and Europe, assess the activities of cocoa and chocolate processing companies against indicators like agroforestry, deforestation and climate change, living income policies, human rights due diligence, transparency and traceability, and child labour.

The indicators are expected to help address social and environmental concerns regarding the sector.

“In the context of Ghana, we are looking at what things these companies are putting in place in their corporate document to ensure that their footprint do not lead to further deforestation.”

Mr Obed Owusu-Addai – Managing Campaigner of EcoCare Ghana

The 2021 Easter scorecard, launched last week in Washington D.C., USA, ranked and graded chocolate companies on key sustainability issues with the “Good Egg” award going to the three highest-ranking companies.

The top-ranking companies include Alter Eco with distribution in the US and Europe; Tony’s Chocolonely, a Netherlands-based multinational company; and Whittaker’s, from New Zealand with products available primarily in Australia and New Zealand.

However, non-performing companies, who received the lowest marks, were awarded the “Rotten Egg” award which this year went to Storck, a confectioner with production facilities in Germany and 21 international subsidiaries, for its lack of responsiveness and transparency.

At the Ghana launch in Accra, Mr Obed Owusu-Addai, the Managing Campaigner of EcoCare Ghana, a local non-governmental Organisation, said in collaboration with the Ghana Civil Society Cocoa Platform (GCCP), his outfit decided to localise the issues raised in the Easter Scorecard abroad and situate them within the context of current cocoa conversations in the country.

This was because Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, being the world’s major cocoa producing countries, were environmentally affected by production practices including deforestation and child labour issues.

He said the launch of the Scorecard would help assess the activities of chocolate processing companies against indicators that were relevant to the ordinary cocoa farmer in the country.

“In the context of Ghana, we are looking at what things these companies are putting in place in their corporate document to ensure that their footprint do not lead to further deforestation.

“And how they program their activities to support local producers to ensure their supply chain does not have deforestation related cocoa beans,” he indicated.

There was also the need to look at how cocoa producing farms were supported in order not get entangled with issues of child labour.

“Especially around this Easter where a lot of people around the world eat a lot chocolate, we also wanted to show to Ghanaians what the footprints of those who buy our cocoa beans and processes it into chocolate bars in Europe and America were,” Mr Obed concluded.

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