Cocoa is the leading smallholder cash crop in Ghana's High Forest Zone. However, the vulnerability of many cocoa farming households is rising as a result of declining yields and rising exposure to climate shocks and disease. To sustain a basic standard of living, many smallholders are consequently extensifying cocoa by establishing new cocoa farms at the forest fringe; thereby, making cocoa the leading driver of deforestation in Ghana. Intensifying cocoa production has therefore become integral to Ghana's climate change mitigation and adaptation programs.
CIFOR, SNV and ICRAF seek to support these policy priorities by enabling farmers to adopt climate-smart cocoa practices and technologies. This will be achieved by designing and implementing locally appropriate capacity development activities and institutionalizing social learning structures. This will encourage and enable 15,000 cocoa smallholders to adopt cocoa rehabilitation packages and integrate shade crops and trees into young full-sun cocoa. To prevent future extensification of cocoa into forest margins, the project will also revitalize dormant Community Resource Managed Areas (CREMAs). This will contribute to restoring and improving existing natural resource governance structures needed to effectively protect and manage in particular unprotected off-reserve forestland contained within those CREMAs. In addition, it will embed the project's development objectives into locally owned planning processes.