Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) chief executive Joseph Boahen Aidoo has urged European chocolate manufacturers to think again about deforestation.
Speaking recently in Zurich at the Chocosuisse general assembly, the association that represents the Swiss chocolate industry, Aidoo stated categorically that he did not subscribe to the thinking that cocoa farming causes deforestation, Ghanaweb reported.
“Loggers working for lumbering companies who sell the timber to Europe and the Americas, are the ones who enter those reserves and subdue the forest,” he told members.
“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,” he said. “If cocoa can be planted to restore some of these lands, I believe it adds up to the forest stock and that is a good thing.”
Deforestation has been a burning issue with environmentalists and cocoa farming has often been attacked as a cause.
Aidoo explained to the assembly that although cocoa has been planted in protected forests in the past, the activities of lumbering companies had reduced the forest before cocoa farmers converted the area into cocoa farms.
In Ghana cocoa is often intercropped with other plants, the Cocobod head told the assembly and stressed the forest-friendly cocoa farming practices that farmers in the country have adopted for many years.