The beneficiaries of the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme (GCFRP) have received payments for the role they played in reducing tons of carbon emissions in the country.
The GFCRP was launched by the President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo on 4th October, 2019. The GCFRP has the aim to secure the future of the forests and make the cocoa sector climate resilient, whilst sustaining and enhancing income and livelihood opportunities for farmers and forest users in all the Hotspot Intervention Areas and the goal to reduce emissions emanating from cocoa expansion into forests by adopting climate smart cocoa production approaches.
Ghana became the second country in Africa after Mozambique to receive payments from the World Bank trust fund for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
In January 2023, Ghana received payments of about 4.8 million US dollars for reducing 972,456 tons of carbon. This payment represent June to December 2019 carbon emissions in the Cocoa Forest Mosaic landscapes.
In his opening remarks, Hon. Andy Osei Okrah, Director FCTC, welcomed all dignitaries for gracing the occasion with their presence. He also briefed audience on the short courses undertaken at FCTC.
Hon Simon Osei Assibey, Ashanti Regional Minister in delivering his speech, commended the MLNR, Ghana Cocoa Board and Forestry Commission for helping the Cocoa market in Ghana. He congratulated all stakeholders and admonished them to use the money given judiciously.
The keynote speech was delivered by the Deputy Minister of lands and natural Resources, Hon. Benito Owusu Bio.
He congratulated the Forestry Commission and other stakeholders for making the implementation of the programme a reality. He also thanked the traditional leaders, farmers and other supportive stakeholders for believing in the fight against deforestation, forest degradation and adoption of climate smart practices which made it possible for all these intervention and ideas to be realised.
In his concluding statement, he stated that the success story of the GCFRP is a great source of gratification and also an indication that our quest to salvage our environment from the ravages of deforestation and forest degradation is not a lost cause.
“I call on all and sundry to put their shoulders to the wheel in our quest to protect, preserve and restore our forests and natural resources in general; the task is huge but collectively we can attain the results we desire with commitment and dedication as exemplified by the GFCRP”, he concluded.
The Director of the Climate Change Directorate, Madam Roselyn Agyei in her statement gave an overview of the REDD+ programme which started fifteen years ago. She avowed that, the REDD+ programme has made significant stripes over the years and through readiness, implementation and piloting, the programme has finally gotten to the results based payments phase.
She explained that, the GCFRP was a journey to achieve sustainability in our land use and socio-economic development by improving yields in the cocoa forest landscapes while protecting our forests at the same time.
She highlighted that, it is delightful to know that there is an alternative for illegal logging and mining that can equally generate funds whilst sustaining our forests.
“Today Ghana has also proven to the world that we can have a better alternative to deforestation, an alternative that is doable and payable” she added.
Madam Adjei explained that the programme has been designed in such a way that a lot of the benefits are going to the landscape. She attributed this to various robust structures set up by governance and controlled measures to ensure that the funds are used for what they have been earmarked for.
She gave a breakdown of how the funds have been distributed as follows;
- [ ] 1.3 million US dollars received as an advanced payment when FC negotiated the emission reduction payment agreement with Worldbank.
- [ ] 1.7 million US dollars goes directly to farmers for the purchase of farming inputs
- [ ] 1.1 US dollars goes to farming communities for community development activities
- [ ] 359,000 US dollars goes to government agencies (FC, Ghana Cocoa Board, Municipal and District Assemblies)
- [ ] 91,000 US dollars goes to traditional authorities.
Mr. Joseph Nkrumah, Hotspot Intervention Area Management Board member and a beneficiary expressed gratitude on behalf of all beneficiaries to the Forestry Commission for the intervention in their cocoa activities which has resulted in bountiful harvest and a great source of livelihood.
There were Solidarity messages from World Cocoa Foundation, Ghana Cocoa Board, CSO and World Bank who are stakeholders of the programme.
In climaxing the ceremony, the Ashanti Regional Minister presented the dummy cheques to the Municipal Assemblies, farmers and other selected institutions.