Members of Assinam Cocoa Farmers Cooperative and Marketing Union Limited, in the Central Region, have observed that certification schemes, which seek to protect the forest, are not very effective since they still have limitations.
It is as a result of this that they are calling for a more effective and efficient policy guideline on zero cocoa deforestation.
The farmers maintain that certification also has limited impact on addressing livelihood issues as farmers continue to wallow in poverty, with their premium remaining unrealistically low.
They further argue that these negative situations create sourcing complications for companies that use certified cocoa purchases as strategy to reduce deforestation.
The argument by the farmers are based on outcome of a study on “Addressing cocoa land use and impact on deforestation”, conducted by the union with sponsorship from Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund, USAID and DANIDA.
Theophilus Tamakloe, chairman of the union, admitted that there are some certification schemes which have addressed environmental and socioeconomic issues related to cocoa, including biodiversity loss and forest conservation.
He mentioned that some companies and small holder farmers are utilizing certification schemes to promote responsible practices, with others even combining it with their own community programmes on certification to protect the forest.
He said all these measures are not effective in fighting deforestation, adding that the study identified public-private cooperation through increased strategic alignment as key strategies for operationalizing zero deforestation in the cocoa industry.
Again, Mr Tamakloe stressed the need for the formulation of a policy that emphasizes cocoa farm restoration and regeneration.
He said the study showed that sustainable financing by financial institutions, producers, government and consumer countries as well as supply chain companies will be required in developing an effective financial mechanism that work for local producers in replanting their cocoa farms.
“This will undoubtedly increase productivity without clearing the forest,” he said.