Mr Vincent Awotwe-Pratt, Country Manager of Cocoa and Forest Initiative of the World Cocoa Foundation, has called on farmers to patronise the Comprehensive Cocoa Management Systems (CCMS) initiated by COCOBOD.
The CCMS among other things is a data gathering system meant to generate and centralize data of an actual number of cocoa farmers and the locations of their farms in Ghana.
It is aimed at digitalizing and improving transparency and enhancing effective cocoa traceability in the cocoa sector.
Mr Awotwe-Pratt was speaking at a high-level landscape forum organized by the Cocoa and Forest Initiative (CFI) Secretariat in partnership with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative and the World Cocoa Foundation.
The programme was to inform and provide appropriate explanations about CFI to key landscape stakeholders at the Kakum Hotspot Intervention Area (HIA) to build a strong link between CFI Secretariat and key landscape actors to solicit support towards CFI sensitization at the forest fringe and cocoa growing communities.
In attendance were stakeholders from the various security sectors, judges, Traditional Authorities, District Assemblies, COCOBOD, Forestry Commission, lands commission.
Others are; the Office of Administrator of Stool Lands, National Disaster Management Ognanisation, Private Cocoa Buying Companies, Civil Society Organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations and cocoa cooperatives within the Kakum HIA.
Mr Charles Brefo-Nimo, Senior Programmes Manager of IDH- Sustainable Trade Initiative urged stakeholders to share the knowledge acquired from the programme with their various institutions and at the local commune level.
For his part, Nana Akomea Ntrakwa (III), Akyeamehene of Twifo Traditional Area expressed the willingness of traditional leaders to support CFI at the cocoa landscape and ensure communities and farmers understood the objectives of CFI and what it meant in practice.
He highlighted the three pillars of CFI as ‘Forest Protection and Restoration’, ‘Sustainable Production and Farmers Livelihood’ as well as Community Engagement and Social Inclusion. Nana Ntrakwa encouraged the implementing partners to leverage existing and on-going initiatives to avoid duplication.
Otumfour Amoah Sasraku (lV), Paramount Chief of Twifo Hemang Traditional Area who chaired the programme urged all participants to work together to halt deforestation and forest degradation since the forest provided ecosystem services to mitigate against climate change.
Mr Daniel Appiah, a participant said the programme was insightful and educative and hoped to see such fora organized more often and extended to the grassroots to broaden the knowledge of cocoa farmers.