Fairtrade Africa, under its Dignity for All programme, has organized a stakeholder engagement and capacity building on deforestation, biodiversity, and forest governance in the Eastern and Ahafo regions of Ghana on the 26th & 29th March 2021.
The training was attended by Fairtrade certified producers, traditional authorities, and local government authorities such as the Forestry Commission, Department of Agriculture, Department of Planning, and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). Also present were representatives from the Federation of People with Disability, UNDP, UNER, and Solidaridad.
The Finnish-funded Dignity for All (D4A) programme is aimed at ensuring a right to sustainable livelihood for producer households, the right to ensuring a sustainable livelihood for worker households as well as ensuring fair and sustainable trading. The D4A Cocoa Climate Change project, one of the 8 projects under the programme seeks to empower the most marginalized Fairtrade-certified cocoa farmers by strengthening their assets and capabilities; building resilient agro-based trade systems and societies in the attainment of sustainable livelihoods.
The ever-growing threat of climate change faced by smallholder cocoa farmers in Ghana has necessitated a holistic approach to emphasize the role of promoting biodiversity and conservation of forests.
This action as part of any cocoa livelihood diversification project will regenerate the ecosystem on which farmers depend and improve productivity sustainably. The project beneficiaries are the Asetenapa Cooperative Cocoa Farming & Marketing Society, Asunafo North Municipal Cooperative Cocoa Farmers Union, and Kukuom Cooperative Cocoa Farmers and Marketing Union reaching some 10,471 farmers.
As part of broader stakeholder consultation for the D4A Cocoa Climate Change Project, Fairtrade organized a stakeholder meeting to seek the opinion and feedback on the learning curve for climate adaptation and mitigation. Fairtrade highlighted its role in increasing awareness of the effect of the changing climate on cocoa farmers’ livelihoods.
There were presentations on forest governance as a conduit for sustainably managing forest resources and climate change mitigative innovations in the project landscape At the end of the programme, stakeholders formed a multi-stakeholder platform to leverage on existing knowledge and networks to generate traction on discussions on forest governance and climate change and propose viable mitigative measures.
Jonathan Lanidune, Project Coordinator for Dignity for All in Ghana is positive that the initiative will go a long way to empower producers to adopt climate-smart approaches. “Fairtrade Africa is committed to empowering producers to improve on their livelihoods and contribute to community development. Under its 2021- 2025 strategy, Fairtrade aims at building sustainable farming systems by supporting farmers to embrace a sustainable farming model for increased agricultural production and productivity & investment”, he says.
Nana Kwaku Owusu, Dwatuohene of the Goaso Traditional Council stated that the programme has given him a better appreciation of the advantages of tree planting not only for the immediate benefit of shade for his cocoa trees but as an adaptation and mitigation co-benefits. “I am committed to using my platform to educate my people on climate change and its impacts as well as the strides Fairtrade Africa is making in the sector.”