Deforestation in cocoa is an ongoing issue as farmers seek land to increase their crop. Our Climate-Smart Cocoa programmes with Rainforest Alliance are showing significant results in tackling this problem however incentives to farmers to take up the new practices are proving critical.
Our primary actions have been around encouraging farmers to plant more forest and shade trees to help create cooler microclimates in the face of rising temperatures, although farmers still see them as competing with the cocoa.
In Côte d’Ivoire, we have also recently scaled up our recommendations to farmers on the planting of trees – in partnership with GIZ, we are recommending 100 forestry and 50 shade trees per hectare. Additionally, Olam has been working progressively with its producers towards restoration of zones adjacent to aquatic ecosystems; restoration of farmed areas of marginal productivity to natural ecosystem; and incorporation of native trees as border plantings and barriers around housing and infrastructure, and permanent cocoa agroforestry systems. This means that we are planting more trees in our supply base and building more resilience of our communities to be climate ready. In 2016, OLC co-operatives planted 193,000 leguminous shade trees covering 1.9 million high quality cocoa seedlings.
Further to our own activities, we are working pre-competitively with industry partners to tackle deforestation. In March 2017, along with 11 leading cocoa and chocolate companies, we signed the Statement of Intent to the Cocoa & Forests Initiative committing to working together, in partnership with other organisations, to end deforestation and forest degradation in the cocoa supply chain, with an initial focus on Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.
For additional information about how we are working with the industry on the Cocoa & Forests Initiative to tackle deforestation, learn more on the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) site here.