Prioritise regenerative resource, Design for the future
8Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
11Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
15Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Farmers are more likely to adopt regenerative agriculture methods if they are tied to income security. As current cash crops become increasingly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, the kinds of resources that will allow farmers to better adapt to this reality need to be more accessible. This means giving farmers better rights over their land, providing access to valueadded inputs, and creating the space for community discussions about the land they work.
OKO Forests’ founder, Kofi Debrah, has fond memories of escaping London to visit his grandfather’s cocoa farm in Ghana. His visits brought out a love of nature but also made him conscious of the growing connections between farming and climate change. Motivated by the need to mitigate landscape degradation through farming, Kofi began developing value-added regenerative agroforestry systems that could be replicated across the country.
OKO Forests, which began as a landscape management company in 2015, has expanded, with large scale experimental projects in cassava production and operations in both energy production (OKO Energy) and sustainable timber production (in collaboration with the Eco Innovation foundation). The company is shortly to be registered for carbon credits.
OKO Forests creates a step-by-step programme that enables their smallholder farmers to adopt agroforestry techniques. At present, they hold a 50-year lease of 85 acres divided up between 22 farmers. As part of this arrangement they have concluded agreements to allow the farmers to pass plots to their children, giving them the ability to invest for the long term.
Once farmers are trained on how to farm the land, they are provided with high quality inputs and purchase agreements. Crops are chosen based on market demand and valueaddition potential. OKO Forests harvests the crops, transports them, warehouses them and processes them.
In the next five years OKO Forests hopes to set up a network of warehouses that focus on three to four main commodities, incorporating OKO Energy biomass fuel and biochar into the production process, as well as producing timber for the Eco-Innovation Foundation branch.