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Ghana Civil-Society Cocoa Platform (GCCP) has debunked an assertion by the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Joseph Boahen Aidoo, that cocoa-driven deforestation is caused by timber loggers.
Speaking in Switzerland to a group of chocolate manufactures, the COCOBOB CEO is quoted to have said that “though cocoa have been planted on lands in Ghana which in the past were reserved forests, the activities of lumbering companies reduced the forest before cocoa farmers converting the depleted vegetation into cocoa farms.”
He further stated that, “so, in effect, it is not cocoa farmers, who cause deforestation, but now the general idea is that cocoa is causing deforestation. I beg to differ.”
But GCCP says these assertions by Joseph Boahen Aidoo appeared to indicate that cocoa farmers only go into the forest after loggers had already removed some trees and therefore cocoa farmers or cocoa production cannot be said to be causing deforestation.
Obed Owusu-Addai, Co-Convener of GCCP told journalists at a news conference in Accra that, the fundamental problem with the CEO’s argument stems from his confusion between forest degradation and deforestation.
He says that there is a difference between forest degradation and deforestation, adding that being able to differentiate between them is crucial for unambiguous communication and strategic planning purposes. The Co-Convener of GCCP said there are situations that it becomes very important to know the differences and apply them appropriately.
The simplest different according Owusu-Addai , is “when Agriculture, mining, urban development or other land uses replace forest, the land is said to have experienced deforestation. By contrasts, he stated that, degradation is a gradual process through which a forest’s biomass declines its species composition changes or its soil quality declines.
Degradation, he said, often precedes deforestation. The Co-Convener of GCCP said timber loggers harvest trees from forest reserves and deplete the forest of trees which would not allow the forest to perform its functions effectively, saying this is forest degradation. Timber loggers, he adds, do not convert the forestland to other land use but cocoa farmers do, stressing that this is deforestation.
When farmers invade and convert the logged areas into farms, Owusu-Addai is said, they have changed the forestland use and that is the problem GCCP is articulating. The CEO of COCOBOB according to him cannot confuse these two very similar but distinct phenomenon.
GCCP is therefore urging the CEO of COCOBOB to clarify its position on Cocoa-driven deforestation. GCCP is an independent campaign and advocacy platform for civil society actors in the cocoa sector. Its main aim is to advocate and influence cocoa sector policies and programmes.
Source: Adovor Nutifafa