SOLIDARIDAD, an international non-governmental organistaion, has launched the National Initiatives for Sustainable and Climate-smart Oil Palm Smallholders, NISCOPS, in Accra Ghana. The programme is being implemented in Africa (Nigeria and Ghana) and Asia (Indonesia and Malaysia) with the initial funding support from the Government of the Netherlands.
NISCOPS is a five-year strategic programme aimed at enabling governments in key oil palm producing countries to support and work with farmers towards more sustainable, climate-smart palm oil production. The programme began in 2019 with the implementation of phase I from 2020 to 2023 and implementation of phase II from 2024 and beyond. It is also expected to contribute to the Paris Agreement, Nationally Determined Contributions, and NDCs, objectives and the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.
Speaking at the launch of the programme in Ghana, Isaac Gyamfiduring, regional director, Solidaridad West Africa said the group was in tune with the current global and local realities, especially on climate change and agriculture. He said the organisation was using its over 50 years’ experience of both foot and brain on the ground through works to contribute to shaping practices and policies at local, districts, national and global levels.
Solidaridad has been in Ghana’s Oil palm landscape since 2012, promoting yield intensification at both the farm and mill levels through the introduction of Best Management Practices, BMP, and improved processing technology respectively. The organization has also supported the revitalization of the Oil Palm Development Association of Ghana, OPDAG. Solidaridad has also played a role in the establishment of the Tree Crops Development Authority. These have been implemented under Sustainable West Africa Oil Palm Program, SWAPP.
Analysis from SWAPP shows that an average farm yield of at least 12tons/ha/year for existing farms coupled with an oil extraction rate of 18 percent will make Ghana self-sufficient in Crude Palm Oil, CPO production. This can only be realised when among other interventions such as BMP, great attention is paid to the impacts of climate change on the sector as well as the contribution of the oil palm sector to climate change.
In his presentation during the event, Samson Samuel Ogallah, senior climate specialist for Africa, Solidaridad and technical coordinator, NISCOPS, said the Key Performance Indicators, KPIs, of the programme was built on the three pillars of Climate-Smart Agriculture, CSA, of Productivity, Adaptation, and Mitigation.
Ogallah stated that the programme in addition to its contribution to the NDCs and SDGs of the four countries aimed to further build the capacity of smallholders (organizations) and local institutions to improve performance as well as support development of landscape-level mechanisms to operate in ‘vulnerable’ landscapes prone to deforestation.
On her part, Katja Lasseur, deputy head of mission, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ghana, expressed the commitment of the Government of the Netherlands to the programme and called on other partners and stakeholders to come on board in order to achieve the laudable objectives of the programme.
While Owusu Afriyie Akoto, minister of food and agriculture in Ghana, noted that agriculture is the backbone of the Ghanaian economy and that achieving sustainable food security in a world of the growing population and changing diets is a major challenge under climate change. He noted that climate change will have far-reaching consequences for agriculture that will disproportionately affect poor and marginalized groups, who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods and have a lower capacity to adapt.
“I am happy to note that the overarching goal of NISCOPS is to contribute towards Ghana’s Nationally Determined Contribution of the Paris Climate Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals through; building the climate resilience of smallholder oil palm farmers and oil palm processors; promoting the use of energy-efficient cookstoves at the artisanal processing level and Implementing community-led adaptation and livelihood diversification programmes.
“I wish to assure you of government support to create the enabling environment for the successful implementation of the programme in selected vulnerable communities in order to replicate it in other sectors of the economy to mitigate the impact of climate change,” he said.
The climax of the event was the inauguration of a nine-member National Advisory Committee, NAC, to advise the programme. The NAC members comprised public and private sector representatives from the Oil Palm Development Association of Ghana, Oil Palm Research Institute, Ministries of Food and Agriculture; Trade and Industry; Local Government and Rural Development; Land and Natural Resources; Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Environmental Protection Agency and Forestry Commission.
NISCOPS is implemented by Solidaridad in Ghana in partnership with IDH in Indonesia, Malaysia and Nigeria.
– Jan. 21, 2020 @ 12:49 GMT |