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ResourceTrust ResourceTrust Lends Supports to the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020) Africa Palm Oil Initiative

ResourceTrust has lauded and given its support to the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020) Africa Palm Oil Initiative. The Director of this natural resources management organization Joseph W. Osei expressed the organization’s support to the initiative as having the potential to improve rural livelihoods and reduce Tropical deforestation. He articulated this position to participants at the Ghana’s TFA2020 Oil Palm Initiative workshop in Accra.
The workshop which brought key stakeholders in the Oil Palm industry in Ghana together at the Best Western Premier Hotel in Accra, Ghana from 22nd to 23rd July 2015 was organized by ProForest in collaboration with the Government of Ghana through its Ministry of Food and Agriculture. The objective of the workshop was to develop a set of principles to guide the sustainable production of oil palm in Ghana. Stressing the position of ResourceTrust, Osei bemoaned the fact that, in spite of the general realization of the superior economic importance of the oil palm crop and the comparative advantage of the country for its production, Ghana has missed some opportunities to use the crop to transform the livelihood of its rural population. According to him, the good news now is that with the TFA2020 Africa Oil Palm Initiative as a stimulus, the obvious signs of the government commitment and the current level of local expertise especially in guiding sustainable oil palm production, the country can restore any lost opportunities and moving forward, use the crop to transform the economy of the country while avoiding the mistakes of Malaysia and Indonesia. According to him, ResourceTrust has the experience and expertise in sustainability in the Forestry and Agriculture productive systems which span across Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), FLEGT/LegalSource, High Conservation Value (HCV), Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT), Plan Vivo, Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) among others. Thus, the organization is poised with its approach of harnessing local capacity with international collaboration to deliver cutting edge solutions for operators in the productive systems and supply chain traceability of the industry to ensure sustainable production in the country and the sub-regions
The TFA 2020 ( which is an initiative of the Consumer Goods Forum (including Walmart, Tesco, Nestle, Unilever and Colgate) is a Public Private Partnership with the principal goal to reduce tropical deforestation across the globe. Its focus is on agricultural commodities like palm oil, soy, pulp & paper and beef products which drive over 50% of such deforestation. In Africa, the TFA2020 attention is on the oil Palm production in Central and Western Africa where recently major palm oil companies have been securing land or have already established plantations on a large scale. Thus the initiative is working with some governments, the industry and civil society in the sub-regions to agree on set of principles in the context of each country to govern oil palm production which build on successes and avoids the mistakes of Malaysia and Indonesia. Governments of Ghana, Cameroon, Cote d’ivoire and Liberia have signed up to this initiative and are working with stakeholders to agree on set of principles as part of the steps of the initiative to achieve the set objectives.
The Accra workshop was for Ghana’s stakeholders to develop sustainable oil palm development principles under the TFA2020 Africa Oil Palm Initiative. The workshop brought together participants from the government agencies to include the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Forestry Commission (FC) of Ghana, Institute for Local Government Studies, financial institutions, research and academia, traditional authorities, large holder oil Palm plantations, smallholders, out-growers, millers, refiners and Civil Society Organizations in the palm oil sub-sector among others. The Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture Hon. Dr. Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan was in attendance.
At the end of the 2-day workshop, the participants which ResourceTrust believe have good knowledge of the issues in the oil palm sector and rich in ideas identified challenges affecting sustainable oil palm production in the country and came out with principles and key actions to guide sustainable production of oil palm in Ghana. The principles as agreed and communicated to the Government of Ghana for further action were:

1. Land use planning and management
Land use planning and management for sustainable oil palm development shall ensure sustainable environmental management with specific emphasis on minimising deforestation/degradation and biodiversity loss as well as addressing socio-economic concerns, including safeguarding the rights of owners and users, community concerns and equitable benefit sharing.

2. Research & Extension Services
Oil palm development in Ghana shall be guided by research and extension services in a continuum, prioritizing issuebased, demand-driven research that links effectively with well-resourced extension services.

3. Stakeholder involvement Sustainable Oil Palm Production in Ghana shall proceed through effective, participatory and an all-inclusive stakeholder involvement process to enhance understanding, collaboration and coordination amongst stakeholders in the sub-sector.

4. Livelihood/Smallholders/Outgrowers
Sustainable oil palm production in Ghana shall be undertaken in a manner that protects, improves and sustains rural livelihoods and the rights of outgrowers/smallholders in the sector through their effective participation in policy formulation, their implementation, fresh fruit bunch pricing and initiatives targeted at increasing productivity.

5. Best Management Practices
The oil palm sector shall abide by best management practices that ensure producers have mechanisms aimed at optimizing yield, undertake oil palm cultivation and management in a sustainable and environmentally-acceptable manner and employ processes and technologies that optimize oil recovery.

6. Labour issues
The labour regime of the oil palm sector shall at a minimum ensure that workers’ rights and obligations are in consonance with the labour laws of Ghana, provide working environment that guarantees employee health and safety and maintain a healthy relationship with labour.

7. Legal Framework/Policy/Governance Sustainable oil palm production shall be governed by clear policy and legal framework, with a well-structured value chain where all actors belong to a decentralized governance system supervised by a regulatory body.

8. Financing
The oil palm sector shall be financed by a comprehensive value chain financing instrument underpinned by long term funding through the financial institutions for on-lending to actors.