Story by: Business Desk
Giving the keynote address at the 2nd edition of the Orange Cocoa Day 2022, on the theme; Exploring How Improved Access to Land and Tree Tenure Promotes Sustainability in the Cocoa Value Chain, the Sector Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor said in promoting the production of cocoa, all stakeholders must ensure that it is done in a manner that does not destroy the lands and forests of the country.
He added that following the twenty-sixth session of the Conference of Parties (COP26) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Ministry is committed to end deforestation and forest degradation arising from the production of these commodities.
He intimated that as the population grows, competition for land across the various sectors, such as agriculture, forestry, mining, human settlement, infrastructural development, ecological sites, among others, is inevitable, making access to land a challenge, not only for the agricultural sector, but also for the forestry sector.
He therefore added that there is the need to create a balance between all these competing land uses without compromising the land’s ability to sustain the benefit flows for current and future generations.
Hon. Jinapor noted the importance of cocoa to Ghana saying, “Cocoa for us in Ghana, is not just a cash crop that contributes significantly to our economy, but also, a historic commodity that forms part of our heritage. With the crop being cultivated in nine (9) out of the sixteen (16) regions of our country, the lives and livelihoods of many of our compatriots depend on the value chain of this commodity”
He noted that unlike many of the former British colonies, land in Ghana, is mainly owned by stools, skins, clans, families and individuals, with Government controlling only about twenty percent (20%) of lands, acquired from stools and families which makes Land administration in the country quite complex.
The Minister said not oblivious of the fact that access to land is a major anchor for development, Government in 2020 enacted the Land Act, 2020 (Act 1036) to lay the much-needed foundation required to catapult urgent reforms in land administration in the country.
He continued saying “The Act harmonises and consolidates land related laws, and establishes a framework for registering land rights and interests, to ensure sustainable land administration and management, as well as effective and efficient land tenure system”
Apart from land tenure, the Minister noted that improving tree tenure is also very crucial to the quest of preventing deforestation arising from agricultural practices.
Hon. Jinapor went on to talk about a number of measures the Ministry has put in place to encourage farmers and also to secure thier cooperation for the protection of these trees. stated education and sensitization and Tree tenure and benefit sharing scheme as examples.
The Minister thanked the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, led by its Ambassador, His Excellency Jeroen Verheul, for the invitation to be a part of such an important event, which seeks to bring to the fore issues of access to land and tree tenure in the cocoa value chain and also for thier support in sustaining the country’s forest reserves.
The European Union Ambassador to Ghana, H. E Irchad Razaarly in his address reiterated the European Union’s commitment to the dialogue on sustainable Cocoa and their support to the sector.
He congratulated Ghana Cocoa Board on their 75years celebration in Cocoa production and thanked all other stakeholders at the event for thir inputs and efforts.
The Deputy Dutch Ambassador to Ghana, H. E Katja Lasseur on her part stated the purpose of the event saying that it is meant to assemble all Cocoa Sector stakeholders on annual basis to discuss topics that will support their common effort for sustaining the Cocoa sector in Ghana.
She added that as an Embassy they are very grateful for the cooperation with the European Union and all other partners that marshalled efforts to make the event possible.