Produce cocoa without destroying land, forests – Lands Minister

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, has urged all stakeholders in the cocoa industry to promote the production of cocoa, but must ensure that it is done in a manner that does not destroy the lands and forests of the country.

He was delivering the keynote address at the 2nd edition of the Orange Cocoa Day 2022, on the theme; Exploring how improved access to land and tree tenure promotes sustainability in the cocoa value chain, the sector.

Mr Jinapor said that following the 26thsession of the Conference of Parties (COP26) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Ministry was committed to end deforestation and forest degradation arising from the production of the commodity.

He intimated that as the population increased, competition for land across the various sectors, such as agriculture, forestry, mining, human settlement, infrastructural development, ecological sites, among others, was inevitable, making access to land a challenge, not only for the agricultural sector, but also for the forestry sector. 

The Minister, added that there was the need to create a balance between all these competing land uses without compromising the land’s ability to sustain the benefit flows for current and future generations.

He noted the importance of cocoa to Ghana saying, “Cocoa for us in Ghana, is not just a cash crop that contributes significantly to our economy, but also, a historic commodity that forms part of our heritage. With the crop being cultivated in nine out of the 16 regions of our country, and the lives and livelihoods of many Ghanaians depend on the value chain of this commodity”  

He noted that unlike many of the former British colonies, land in Ghana, was mainly owned by stools, skins, clans, families and individuals, with the government controlling only about 20% of lands, acquired from stools and families which made land administration in the country quite complex.

The Minister said not oblivious of the fact that access to land was a major anchor for development, the government in 2020 enacted the Land Act, 2020 (Act 1036) to lay the much-needed foundation required to catapult urgent reforms in land administration in the country. 

 “The Act harmonises and consolidates land related laws, and establishes a framework for registering land rights and interests, to ensure sustainable land administration and management, as well as effective and efficient land tenure system,” he said

Apart from land tenure, the Minister noted that improving tree tenure is also very crucial to the quest of preventing deforestation arising from agricultural practices. 

Hon. Jinapor went on to talk about a number of measures the Ministry has put in place to encourage farmers and also to secure thier cooperation for the protection of these trees. stated education and sensitization and Tree tenure and benefit sharing scheme as examples. 

The European Union Ambassador to Ghana,IrchadRazaarly in his address reiterated the European Union’s commitment to the dialogue on sustainable cocoa and their support to the sector. 

He congratulated Ghana Cocoa Board on its 75years celebration in cocoa production and thanked all other stakeholders at the event for their inputs and efforts. 

By Times Reporter

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