Ghana is stepping up its commitment to help end deforestation due to cocoa farming by partnering with Ecometrica.
The authorities in Ghana have signed an agreement that will see the Forestry Commission of Ghana (FCG) adopt the Ecometrica mapping platform.
The platform will be used to produce and deliver high-quality maps and forest monitoring information which will be used in the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI), as agreed by Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire at the COP23 UN Climate Change Conference.
Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, chief executive of FCG, said accurate and timely information, accessible to all stakeholders, is critical to the future success of the CFI, sustainable forest management and reliable information for international forest monitoring obligations in Ghana.
“The Ecometrica Platform will provide access to essential mapping and monitoring information to cocoa industry, stakeholders and national institutions involved in the CFI, to ensure compliance with legal and voluntary commitments,” he said.
As a participant in the UK Space Agency’s Forests 2020 Project, Ecometrica has been supporting the FCG by helping it to improve its monitoring and mapping and to determine the effects of cocoa farming on forests. The new agreement ensures that the collaboration will continue beyond the life of project funding.
Ecometrica’s executive chairman Dr Richard Tipper said, “This is a landmark step in our plans for Ghana and an important development in ensuring sustainability beyond 2020.
“Significantly, this will also create a long-term revenue stream for the FCG, as we will also distribute the maps that have been created by it. This will help make its commitment to high quality mapping and monitoring of cocoa farms and forests self-sustaining.”
Sarah Middlemiss, space programme manager at Ecometrica, who has led the Forests 2020 project for the company, said “This agreement ensures the tools and methods developed through Forests 2020 will be widely adopted and become the national standard in Ghana.
“For the companies involved, that gives them the security of monitoring their supply chains through a state-of-the-art system that is guaranteed by a national government.”
Because cocoa is a shade-loving crop and can grow under forest canopy, other available methods to map the spread of cocoa farming had proved ineffective.
The work carried out by Ecometrica and its partners in Ghana, through the Forests 2020 project, ensured that accurate maps were developed, showing the true impact of the cocoa supply chain. These will now be updated on a regular basis to reflect efforts to tackle deforestation.