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Reverse deforestation

Michael Kudjornou is a cocoa farmer who lives in the Tigare community in Asempanaye, Ghana.

The Cocoa and Forests Initiative reached the Tigare community with agroforestry programming aiming to increase cocoa farmers’ resilience to climate and support on-farm tree planting. Michael decided to participate in the program, which consisted of training farmers on Climate smart cocoa (CSC) practices, which help farmers overcome future challenges attributed to climate change while simultaneously improving cocoa production. The training was provided by Michael’s farmer cooperative, Kuapa Kokoo. The first objective of the training is to provide farmers with information on climate change, future risks facing cocoa production, and the need to adopt new practices to increase their resilience to its negative effects. Mercy Zovour, a Ghanian cocoa farmer like Michael, recounts the educational aspect of the training:

“I personally didn’t know what climate change was all about and how negatively it can impact agriculture until I was enlightened by the training provided by the Program’s Field Officers. Through the training, I have learnt what climate change is all about and its causes.”

The CSC training also provides practical solutions for farmers to adopt to combat the effects of climate change, including planting shade trees on cocoa farms. Shade trees can help grow more cocoa on less land by making soils healthier and allowing for more cocoa production in the long term.

Over two-thirds of the farmers who underwent training are now participating in agroforestry, including Michael, through the help of Kuapa Kokoo Extension Officers. Following the training, the Extension Officers provided trees to program farmers, and through this Michael received around 30 shade tree seedlings to plant on his farm. Michael was delighted: “this saved me from spending time scouting other’s farms and the forest for tree seedlings,” he explained. With the young trees now planted, he has already started to see the benefits of agroforestry, stating “the trees are growing well, and they have already started to give shade to my young cocoa plants. I am so happy about the shade trees I have received through this project.”

Both Michael and Mercy now understand the implications of climate change and how to prepare their farms to be resilient moving forward. Michael is glad to see those 30 trees already providing benefits to his farm and helping prepare him for the future.

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