More than four years after the high-profile launch of the Cocoa and Forest Initiative (CFI), Africa’s top cocoa-producing nations continue to realise huge areas of forest being destroyed to make room for cocoa production, a study has revealed.
Consequently, the new study by Mighty Earth has shown that major chocolate companies failed in their pledge to end deforestation comprehensively.
The research was conducted in partnership with Ecocare Ghana, a non-profit organisation.
Dubbed “Sweet Nothings: How the chocolate industry has failed to honour promises to end deforestation in cocoa supply chains,” the report unwraps the unsavory side of the cocoa industry and shows the urgent need to break the link between chocolate products and deforestation.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra yesterday, MrObedOwusu-Addai, Managing Campaigner of Ecocaresaid the CFI had lots of potential but currently was not living up to expectation.
“Just about four-and-a-half-years ago Ghana together with Ivory Coast and 32 other cocoa companies signed a statement of intent Cocoa Forest Initiative (CFI) with the purpose of minimising and dealing with deforestation.”
“After close to five years, Mighty Earth has uncovered through a study that pledges in CFI are not being adhered to,” Mr Owusu-Addaistated.
He disclosed thatCôte d’Ivoire lost 19,421 hectares (ha) -74.9 sq. mi. – (2 per cent) of its forest since the CFl action plans were published in January 2019, whilst Ghana has lost an astonishing 39,497 ha -152.5 sg. mi. of forest with a staggeringly high rate of deforestation of 3.9 per cent since that time.
That, he explained, amounted to a combined area of tropical forest lost in the two countries equivalent to the cities of Madrid, Seoul, or Chicago.
He, however, recommended that chocolate companies, cocoa traders, traders, and governments must pool information about cocoa supply chains, and couple this with satellite data imagery to establish an open and transparent deforestation monitoring mechanism in 2022.
BY BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY