The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is set to commence a field survey exercise under the Environmental, Social and Management System (ESMS) in May 2021. The exercise aims at assessing the social and environmental impacts of its Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEPs).
COCOBOD is expected to conduct field surveys to determine whether the PEPs are negatively impacting the environment and social life in communities or not. The Board is to identify potential threat and take steps to eliminate or reduce its impact. Subsequently, the Board organized a two-day training programme to adequately prepare staff of COCOBOD’s Research Monitoring & Evaluation (RM&E) Department and the Cocoa Health & Extension Division (CHED) ahead of the survey.
Participants, numbering 30, will visit farming communities and administer questionnaires to about 2,730 respondents on issues about environmental and social sustainability. The respondents comprise of beneficiary farmers, disease spotters, pruners, sub-contractors, pollinators and weeding labourers.
In general, respondents will share their views on issues such as pollution, child involvement in farming and forest degradation. They will also indicate whether or not the implementation processes of the various PEPs sub-projects have contributed to their occurrence. Other issues that the survey will also address are matters relating to professional misconducts by officials; land tenure issues; wages of workers, among others.
The Training Session
Speaking at session, the Deputy Executive Director (CHED) in charge of PEPs, Mr. Faruk Nyame said environmental and social issues have far-reaching implications on the cocoa sector. He went on to say that such issues are inextricably linked to production. He urged the enumerators to take the training seriously.
Mr Nyame regretted that the international community accused COCOBOD of doing very little to address sustainability issues. He, however, explained that the Board had put several interventions in place by to curtail the issues. He blamed it on the lack of reliable and creditable data to justify the Board’s efforts at addressing these issues.
“When we fall short of social and environmental issues such as child labour, deforestation, among others…
“We will score low by sustainability standards and the world will see us as being insensitive to the plights of the society and environment.”
Mr. Nyame encouraged the beneficiaries to ensure due diligence in the exercise. He explained that data obtained would help change the world’s views about COCOBOD and its efforts to ensure sustainable cocoa production in the country.
Moreover, a facilitator of the training programme, Dr Isaac Manu provided insight on the usefulness of the survey. He said findings of the survey will help COCOBOD’s Management to take some critical steps to mitigate shortfalls identified. He added that COCOBOD will carry out stakeholder engagements to further discuss the findings.
Dr Manu further hinted that AfBD will receive a final report on progress made. The report will indicate how the Board has fared in its efforts to eliminate or reduce the prevalence of some pertinent social and environmental issues that directly or indirectly affect sustainability.