Deforestation driven by commodity production, in particular the production of cocoa, has led to the loss of most of the natural forest in Côte d’Ivoire. Involving the private sector is critical to the success of a zero-deforestation initiative. Given the profitable returns from commercial agriculture, REDD+ incentives alone are unlikely to make a difference. At the micro-level, involving smallholder farmers is also important for zero-deforestation because they will need to improve their agricultural practices. The close involvement of the private sector, smallholder cocoa farmers and government makes this project unique and contrasts with the approach of zero-deforestation initiatives led by large palm oil producers, such as those operating in Indonesia and Liberia.
Involving these diverse parties brings new challenges and offers new insights to inform the actions of the EU REDD Facility going forward. Sustaining engagement with the agricultural sector, and coordinating with the Coffee-Cocoa Board and the Ministry of Agriculture, will be important. The National REDD+ Commission and the national FLEGT Unit at the Ministry of Forest and Water will also need to work together, notably to disseminate information about the new Forest Code, develop and implement regulations. Strengthening law enforcement in agricultural commodity production will require a concerted effort.