Practical Tools Needed for Implementation of Climate Smart Cocoa

The cocoa industry has taken bold steps to preventing deforestation in the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI), a public private collaboration between 33 cocoa and chocolate companies (85% of the industry), the governments of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, and led by the World Cocoa Foundation and the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH). This effort is based on the pillars of preventing deforestation, which include protection and renovation of forests, sustainable and climate smart cocoa production and social inclusion and protection. The industry was able to leverage their prior collaboration on Climate Smart Cocoa as an input to the second pillar of CFI. Sustainable Food Lab has documented the private sector engagement in Climate Smart Cocoa in the case study Climate-Smart Awareness and Decision-Making in the Cocoa Sector.

The Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security Program (CCAFS), a global research program of the CGIAR research network, leads several consortia focused on climate smart cocoa and coffee including the Feed the Future Learning Community for Supply Chain Resilience and the Mainstreaming Climate Smart Value Chains.  CCAFS partnered with WCF, Rainforest Alliance, Root Capital, and Sustainable Food Lab, to develop the following decision-making tools in Ghana that were needed for companies to target investments in climate smart cocoa: (1) climate suitability maps, (2) geographically specific recommendations of climate-smart practices and (3) tree registration guide for tree ownership.

Climate suitability maps, created by CIAT with industry and public data and with the support of the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), IITA and Rainforest Alliance, help decision makers to visualize in granular detail the vulnerability of different cocoa growing zones. Drawing on CRIG’s expertise, these maps characterized zones as Cope (lowest vulnerability – minor adaptation necessary), Adjust (moderate vulnerability – significant adaptation necessary), and Transform (high vulnerability – need to transition to other crops).  As an important complement to this work, CIAT also completed research on the “cost of inaction,” i.e., the projected economic costs of not helping farmers to adapt to climate change – and found a staggering cost by the 2050s of $410 million per year or 1% of Ghana’s GDP, a tremendous potential loss for Ghanaian smallholder
farmers and the country’s cocoa sector.

The second tool, a Climate Smart Cocoa Manual, was developed through field research done by Rainforest Alliance (RA) and IITA.  RA and WCF then adapted the scientific findings to an accessible guide of geographically specific recommendations of climate smart practices. Finally the consortium supported the development of a tree registration guide for digital tree tenure with Meridia, AgroEco and the Ghana Forestry Commission, the tenets of which are being duplicated at scale in CFI.

The case study also includes how Touton, Ecom and The Hershey Company leveraged the decision-support tools produced and how companies linked climate-smart practices to other key industry initiatives like the Cocoa and Forests Initiative and Cocoa Action.

You can learn more about the Food Lab’s involvement in climate smart agriculture here. To read the full case study click here and to learn more about the World Cocoa Foundation and its members visit their website.

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