New Global Witness report indicates that the UK’s two-year old environmental legislation has not affected deforestation due to lack of follow-up by the government.
The European Union is concerned top cocoa grower Ivory Coast is struggling to implement a sustainability drive needed for its beans to meet new EU standards. At stake is smooth access to the main market for cocoa produced in Ivory Coast, the world’s leading producer and exporter of cocoa beans, shipping around 70% of annual output to the EU.
The traceability and certification system remains unclear … and government policy for the protection of forests and the fight against child labour does not seem to be effective and operational. We don’t see any change from what was done in the past,” the source said.
If Ivory Coast does not meet the deadline, it will be classified in a risk category that will subject operators and traders of its cocoa to extra checks, creating bottlenecks.
The world’s largest agriculture producers are pushing back against new European Union rules that require proof that crops weren’t grown on deforested land, which producers say will add to the cost of making food.
Examples and quotes from government and industry players in Brazil, Vietnam, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana cited.
Cocoa is being grown illegally in protected areas in Côte d’Ivoire, found a report published in February 2023 by the Ivorian NGO Initiatives pour le Développement communautaire et la conservation de la Forêt (IDEF), as reported by Fern in mid-march.
The study offers insights about practical challenges that decision-makers should consider in the interim period before the EU Regulation on deforestation-free products (EUDR) comes into force, and that private companies will need to address.
Côte d’Ivoire is the world’s top cocoa producer, but the country’s principal economic activity is driving devastating deforestation, which harms the environment and feeds the illicit timber trade.
Cocoa expert Simon Nanga told the Enact organised crime project that farmers typically relied on natural soil fertility in virgin forests for high cocoa yields. Natural soil has better nutrients than already-farmed cocoa fields. This leads to forests being cleared to allow for cocoa cultivation.
The classified forests of Ivory Coast will enjoy a little respite. Agents of the Ministry of Water and Forests have started a control mission in the classified forests in the south and east of the country. As a result, the activities of three logging companies have been suspended. Illegal logging is a major factor in deforestation in Ivory Coast, where forests now cover only 9.2% of the national territory.
This cocoa-growing settlement was all but destroyed last year by Ivorian forest agents, leaving farmers to rake through their beans amid broken concrete and other remnants.
“They set the whole village on fire,” said Alexis Kouassi Akpoue, describing the day in January 2020 when the agents raided the settlement in Rapides Grah, a protected forest, where he had illicitly planted cocoa with thousands of other farmers. “The next morning at 5 o’clock they sent in the bulldozers.”
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