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News 13/04/2022

How Community Engagement is Driving Forest Protection in Ivory Coast

For decades, the story about forests coming from Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest producer of cocoa, has mainly been one of agricultural expansion and the loss of carbon rich forests.

In the 1960s, it had as much as 16 million hectares of forest. Today, it has a little under three million, with agricultural expansion accounting for 62 percent of deforestation.

Yet, the economy is reliant on agriculture, with cocoa production responsible for more than half the country’s exports, at a price of $6.2 billion.

But this trend of deforestation is being reversed in a key Ivorian forest area. What’s more, it has the potential to be scaled up throughout the country.

In 2021, with the support of local communities in Cavally Forest, Ivory Coast, 350,000 hectares of land was reforested.

This project is the result of collaboration between Earthworm Foundation, Nestlé, the Ivorian Ministry of Water and Forests (MINEF) and the Ivorian Forest Development Agency (SODEFOR).

This work will be the subject of a forthcoming report drawing on the lessons learned and how they can be used to protect further forests.

As well as reforesting, the focus has been on reconciling the economic needs of local communities which are based on agriculture with the health of the environment, on which agricultural activities depend upon in the long run.

"We are convinced that the best way to protect the Cavally classified forest is to resolutely invite communities to take ownership of it and show that conservation could be a source of additional income for it," said Alain Richard Donwahi, Ivorian Minister of Water and Forests.

In 2021, agreements were signed with nine groups to reforest degraded areas, with a further six groups looking after the maintenance of reforestation efforts. Reforestation was done with the support of Earthworm Foundation and SODEFOR.

The communities were paid more than CFA 40,000,000 for this work, with some reinvesting funds in income-generating activities; which Earthworm Foundation have supported them with.

“Our vision is to create solutions that ensure farmers are the drivers and beneficiaries of the forest protection,” said Earthworm CEO Bastien Sachet. “It is essential that businesses co-create solutions with farmers and communities; and Ivory Coast has the opportunity to be the driving force on the subject.”

But this trend of deforestation is being reversed in a key Ivorian forest area. What’s more, it has the potential to be scaled up throughout the country.

In 2021, with the support of local communities in Cavally Forest, Ivory Coast, 350,000 hectares of land was reforested. The project is the result of collaboration between Earthworm Foundation, Nestlé, the Ivorian Ministry of Water and Forests (MINEF) and the Ivorian Forest Development Agency (SODEFOR).

This work will be the subject of a report drawing on the lessons learned and how they can be used to protect further forests.

Download the report here:

Cavally Impact Report 2022

As well as reforesting, the focus has been on reconciling the economic needs of local communities which are based on agriculture with the health of the environment, on which agricultural activities depend upon in the long run.

"We are convinced that the best way to protect the Cavally classified forest is to resolutely invite communities to take ownership of it and show that conservation could be a source of additional income for it," said Alain Richard Donwahi, Ivorian Minister of Water and Forests.

In 2021, agreements were signed with nine groups to reforest degraded areas, with a further six groups looking after the maintenance of reforestation efforts. Reforestation was done with the support of Earthworm Foundation and SODEFOR.

The communities were paid more than CFA 40,000,000 for this work, with some reinvesting funds in income-generating activities; which Earthworm Foundation have supported them with.

“Our vision is to create solutions that ensure farmers are the drivers and beneficiaries of the forest protection,” said Earthworm CEO Bastien Sachet. “It is essential that businesses co-create solutions with farmers and communities; and Ivory Coast has the opportunity to be the driving force on the subject.”

In 2021, agreements were signed with nine groups to reforest degraded areas, with a further six groups looking after the maintenance of reforestation efforts. Reforestation was done with the support of Earthworm Foundation and SODEFOR.

The communities were paid more than CFA 40,000,000 for this work, with some reinvesting funds in income-generating activities; which Earthworm Foundation have supported them with.

“Our vision is to create solutions that ensure farmers are the drivers and beneficiaries of the forest protection,” said Earthworm CEO Bastien Sachet. “It is essential that businesses co-create solutions with farmers and communities; and Ivory Coast has the opportunity to be the driving force on the subject.”

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