The need to improve the governance of international agricultural production and consumption systems and promote a transition to more inclusive business models is increasingly important, while the way in which international demand for agricultural commodities from Sub-Saharan Africa has impacted the forest frontier, actual land use transitions and livelihoods strategies on the ground remains poorly understood.
Indeed, deforestation and agriculture-induced carbon emissions cannot be attributed to the development of large-scale plantations alone; smallholders continue to account for the lion’s share of agricultural output in sub-Saharan Africa. Public and private sector approaches to halting deforestation have, to date, focused on developing both hard and soft regulations to enhance the sustainability of commodity supply. But because many producers in sub-Saharan Africa lack the capacity to comply with these regulations, they are unlikely to make significant contributions to containing deforestation without adequate producer support.
In order to ensure investor confidence in business models and financing schemes that respond to local needs, more bottom-up and territorially-explicit governance arrangements are increasingly called for by the development community. In developing such arrangements, landscape and jurisdictional approaches to zero deforestation commodities are increasingly promoted. These approaches typically seek to reconcile three, often conflicting, objectives: enhancing production, conserving natural resources, and being inclusive of and creating value for smallholders.
Through the GML project, CIFOR is working in Eastern Ghana’s Atiwa landscape to implement a jurisdictional approach and decouple agriculture expansion and deforestation.