Cote d’Ivoire has announced it will begin destroying cocoa crops over next couple of months that are grown in protected areas in a bid to end the destruction of its forests.
It also plans to build a 60 to 70 megawatt (MW) capacity biomass power generation plant running on waste from cocoa pods, as part of its aim of developing 424 MW of biomass power generation capacity by 2030.
Electricity generation sources
According to local reports the plant, which will enable Cote d’Ivoire to diversify its electricity generation sources, was among five projects to receive grants from the US agency for trade and development (USTDA), the US embassy in Abidjan said in a statement earlier this week.
The biomass power station, the country’s first, is planned for Divo, in the southern cocoa region where the country produces approximately 2 million tons of cocoa annually. This results in thousands of tons of pods being discarded after the beans are removed and left to rot or are burned after the harvest.
Cut down trees
The program to cut down trees will begin in the next two months, forestry minister Alain Richard Donwahi told local reporters. Farmers are producing as much as 500,000 tons of cocoa per season in protected areas, he said.
Bloomberg reported that producers in priority regions have been prepared for relocation since December and will be given assistance to increase their yields on less space.
The country is aiming to recover 20% of its forests over the next 10 years. Cote d’Ivoire has 16 million hectares (40 million acres) of forests in 1960, but this has fallen to 3 million hectares, according to government figures.