Fairtrade Africa, Max Havelaar France and the French Development Agency (AFD France) have launched the Ghana Agroforestry for Impact (GAIM) Project at a short ceremony in Goaso, in the Ahafo region of Ghana.

Ghana is the second largest cocoa producer in the world and cocoa is the main export crop. Cocoa production in Ghana faces challenges like increasing environmental degradation, deforestation, ageing farmers, pests and diseases and climate change.

Since agriculture production in Ghana — including cocoa, largely depends on rainfed agriculture — climate change continues to have an impact on cocoa production (declining in yield, tree mortality, pest and diseases etc.)

Moreover, over-reliance on cocoa as the main source of income for farming households has become unsustainable as most farmers suffer during the lean seasons.

On the other hand, women are actively involved in cocoa farming but are hardly recognised and under-represented in cooperatives, particularly in management and marketing roles.

This lack of diversity reinforces gender inequalities that are contrary to human rights and hinder sustainable development.

Additionally, producers need to comply with emerging regulations such as the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR).

This supply chain regulation will no longer allow imported products in Europe that contribute to deforestation or forest degradation.

To help address these challenges, climate change adaptation and mitigation, improving farmers’ incomes and protecting forests are high on the agenda of the chocolate and cocoa industry, many NGOs and governments globally. 

The GAIM project will therefore help provide tools to farmers to fight against the adverse effects of climate change, their dependence on the sole commodity of cocoa and against ageing cocoa farms through Dynamic Agroforestry Techniques (DAF).

Additionally, to ensure the sustainability of the actions, the GAIM project will strongly promote women in leadership and the involvement of the youth in cocoa farming through the Women’s School of Leadership (WSOL) and youth modules.

Under GAIM, the Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) concept will also be strengthened to promote financial inclusion among beneficiary farmers.

Key areas of the project

The project will focus on these key areas:

  • Intensification of production systems using the Dynamic Agroforestry Techniques
  • Gender and youth inclusion using the Women’s School of Leadership and Youth Modules
  • Studies and Knowledge creation; feasibility study to establish payment for Environmental services systems and land tenure diagnosis for tree and plot registration
  • Diversification of crops and incomes; market studies for diversified crops from DAF systems, strengthened operations and extension of VSLAs and distribution of improved cooked stoves.
  • Strengthening Rural Service Centers to provide services to members.

The beneficiaries

The project will be implemented in the Asunafo North Municipality and Asunafo South district of the Ahafo region.

Some farmers and households and 20 communities from three Fairtrade-certified cooperatives will benefit from the project.

These are the Asunafo North Municipal Cooperative Cocoa Farmers Union, Kukuom Cooperative Cocoa Farmers and Marketing Union and Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union.


The project is funded by the French Development Agency (AFD France) with match funding from the Sankofa Project, Max Havelaar France and Fairtrade Africa.


The GAIM project actively promotes the Sustainable Development Goals, which are endorsed by the Government of Ghana and will seek to contribute to:

SDG 1: Poverty reduction

SDG 5: Gender equality

SDG 8: Decent work and Economic growth

SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production

SDG 13: Climate action

SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals

In his remarks, the Executive Director of Fairtrade Africa, Isaac H. Tongola said Fairtrade Africa’s goal is to do more to empower cocoa farmers and more women and youth.

He said his outfit is therefore committed and open to partnering with government ministries, departments and agencies, like-minded NGOs, traders, chocolate brands and other commercial brands, as well as the donor community to achieve more.

“I am therefore, on this special occasion calling on all present here and beyond to support and partner with Fairtrade Africa, Max Havelaar France, the French Development Agency and the farmer cooperatives, especially the women and the youth, to achieve more in the cocoa sector to improve households, cooperatives, communities, this beautiful country Ghana and Africa”, he added.

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