Cocoa Production: sustainability
Increasing tourism receipts in Ghana lead to a need of more sustainable cocoa production in the country. Three major Standard Bodies (UTZ, RA, FT) initiated Voluntary Certification Standards (VCS) in order to meet the goals of sustainable development. These standards are operated in the cocoa producing areas in Ghana and contain tools for managing agriculture and forestry programs for livelihood improvements as well as protection of biodiversity and environmental sustainability. Standards allow the operators to boost conservation activities, sustainable use of biodiversity and reduce their vulnerability to climate change through the enhancement of sustainable agriculture and rural development. Altogether, it would contribute to good health, food security and poverty alleviation. Smallholder cocoa farmers have to pool their resources together to form cooperatives in order to join the certification programme. An important step in the process is for cooperatives to be educated in recent trends on agricultural production and good agronomic practices. Working together empowers farmers to compete in the market and improve community services, serve as inspiration to other farmers. The progress of farmers´cooperations is monotored and evaluated by various multi-stakeholders of the programme and the main area is the benfit of the producers and their ability to sell the product on the terms of Fair Trade. As a result, the initiative of VCS lead to the contibution of sustainable development and correlates with all key areas of the International Year of Tourism for Development 2017. Sales of cocoa generate not only economic benefit, but also re-investment in the value chain, since cocoa butter can be used for beauty products, etc. Cocoa production involves hands of many people, offering a job opportunity for the community as well as indigenous farmers, protection of human rights and certification. Biodiversity is closely monitored and zero deforestation is promoted. Additionally, production of cocoa is filled up with values and traditions, which also promote the cultural heritage of Ghana. Mutual understanding, peace and security is established by encouraging farmers to work together as cooperators. Results that have been achieved throughout and beyond the project: productive lands were sustained by the improvement of the ecosystems, ensuring basic human needs. Cocoa is bought from producers at the price of Fair Trade, benefiting farmers and also contributing to the growth of the capital base of the economy in Ghana.