The Ankasa -Tano Community Resource Management Area (CREMA), West Africa Primate Conservation Action (WAPCA) and French NGO Noe in partnership with Yayra Glover Limited are set to sign a Conservation Agreement on the 2nd of June 2021.

The objective of the Conservation Agreement is to protect and conserve the Ankasa – Tano forest and its surrounding areas through private sector collaboration.

Organic cocoa as a solution

A statement by WAPCA said, solutions to biodiversity loss require community-based management of natural resources and economic alternatives, adding that, improving populations’ income through green value chain allow them to adopt sustainable practices and better manage their resources over time.

“WAPCA, in partnership with Noe and Yayra Glover Ltd, support small cocoa farmers living on the outskirts of the Kwabre-Tanoe forest in improving their agricultural practices, to sustainably increase their yields and obtain an organic certification, while contributing to the protection of the forest”, the statement said.

Biodiversity conservation

As part of the project, a Conservation Agreement will be signed between the Ankasa-Tano CREMA and Yayra Glover Ltd (YGL) and the agreement joins the CREMA to commit itself to preserving the forest through conservation actions such as patrols or reforestation, producing organic Cocoa, whereas YGL also commit to buy organic cocoa beans from the CREMA’s registered farmers at a premium rate and pay an upfront percentage to a Conservation Fund on each tonne of cocoa purchased.

According to the statement, the conservation fund will then pay for the conservation actions and thereby creating over time completely self-financing conservation initiatives, which benefits not only the primates but the local people too.

“The whole project allows for over 500 cocoa farmers to be trained and certified organic, and benefit for an increased income, 13,300 ha of forest to be protected and sustainably managed by the communities and 30,000 trees to be planted”, the statement said.

The Ankasa Conversation Area

The Ankasa Conversation Area is in Ghana's Western Region, about 365 kilometres west of Accra near the border with Côte d'Ivoire. It incorporates the Nini Suhien National Park in the North, and the Ankasa Forest Reserve in the South.

The Park is approximately 500 square kilometers, and consists largely of tropical evergreen rainforest. The Ankasa Conservation Area is the only wildlife protected area in Ghana that is located in the wet evergreen tropical high rainforest belt. The Ankasa, Nini, and Suhien Rivers all pass through the park, and are known for their rapids and waterfalls. The forest has the most biological diversity of any in Ghana, with over 800 vascular plant species, 639 butterfly species, and more than 190 bird species. Animal life includes the elephant, bongo, leopard, chimpanzee, Diana monkey, and other primates. Apart from the forest reserve which was selectively logged, the rest of the protected area is almost intact.

About the actors

WAPCA (West African Primate Conservation Action) is a local NGO working in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire to preserve and protect the threatened primates of West Africa through community empowerment, research, education and captive breeding. WAPCA is spearheaded by Heidelberg Zoo in Germany with core funding from the membership of European Zoological Collections.

Noé (formally Man & Nature) is a non-profit organization created in 2001 whose mission is to safeguard biodiversity around the world. Noé’s Man & Nature program aims at developing green value chains in and around Protected Areas. This program operates by providing technical and financial support to local NGOs that implement projects combining community development with biodiversity conservation.

Yayra Glover Ltd is the pioneer licenced organic cocoa producing and buying company in Ghana. The company provides incentives, training and technical supervision to farmers willing to convert to organic.