• Feature Story
  • |
  • Apr 29, 2018

GHANA: Making cocoa farmland climate- and gender-smart

CIF Action 

Ghana has made 16,000 ha of cocoa farm land climate-smart by integrating shade trees, which are increasing yields and resilience, while providing future source of income as timber.

An innovative shade tree tenure policy is helping reduce gender-based social and economic exclusion by allowing both male and female cocoa farmers to own the valuable trees. 

Ghana is one of the world’s leading cocoa producers. The sector provides livelihoods for 800,000 families, about 13 percent of the country’s total population.

But cocoa farming is also responsible for half of Ghana’s deforestation, recently as high as 2 percent per year, one of the world’s highest. From the country’s original forest cover of 8.2 million ha at the beginning of the twentieth century, only an estimated 1.6 million ha remain.

The Government of Ghana has recognized the increasing price of environmental degradation which have been estimated to cost the country 10 percent of GDP annually. Ghana is committed to modernize its agricultural sector while reducing vulnerability to climate change, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, and lifting its population out of poverty.

As part of a $10 million FIP investment to support agroforestry and sustainable forestry across a total of 90,000 ha, the African Development Bank and CIF’s Forest Investment Program are helping Ghana to establish 16,000 ha of “climate-smart cocoa” in the Western and Brong Ahafo Regions. 

Climate-smart practices and the tree tenure policy reform:

  • Protective tree cover reestablished on cocoa farms
  • Tree ownership is more secure
  • Both male and female cocoa farmers can register shade trees under their own name


  • Improved yields
  • Increased climate resilience
  • Reduced pesticide use
  • Nurseries for valuable wood shade trees established to provide seedlings to cocoa farmers and create new ‘green jobs’ for local communities
  • Newly introduced shade trees will provide a source of income as timber when mature
  • Reduced GHG
  • Biodiversity conserved 

More on the project: https://www.climateinvestmentfunds.org/projects/enhancing-natural-forest...