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Top Cocoa Grower Touts $1.5 Billion Plan to Restore Forests

Ly Le Minh

(Bloomberg) —

The world’s top cocoa producer wants the private sector to invest in a $1.5 billion plan to restore degraded forests and increase food production. 

The Abidjan Initiative, a five-year plan, fits into a longer strategy to mitigate the impact of climate change on Ivory Coast’s natural and agricultural resources, according to the government.

“It’s crucial that we restore our land,” Prime Minister Patrick Achi said Tuesday at a United Nations conference held in the commercial capital, Abidjan. “If we fail to do so, 2% to 6% more households will fall into extreme poverty by 2030.” 

Ivory Coast and neighboring Ghana produce about two-thirds of the world’s cocoa, the key chocolate ingredient. Agriculture accounted for a fifth of the Ivorian gross domestic product in 2020, according to World Bank data, employing millions of farmers. 

Despite a commitment to fight deforestation and increase forest cover to make up 20% of Ivorian territory by 2030, spatial data shows that the West African country continues to lose large chunks of forest area every year, according to a report by the Washington, D.C.-based lender.

Read more: Cocoa Giant Seeks EU Flexibility on Sustainability Rules

“Desertification and drought affect 60% of our territory and as much as 90% in the northern parts, disrupting agricultural and agro-industrial sectors,” President Alassane Ouattara said in an earlier speech. “These scourges also threaten our health and security, and in the long term, peace.” (Recasts with quotes from prime minister’s speech)

–With assistance from Baudelaire Mieu.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.Share

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