Transforming forestry and agricultural commodity sectors


Agriculture is a key driver of the economy, employing about 60% of people, on average, across the continent and contributing to about 23% of GDP in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Africa is a key region for natural resources, diverse ecosystems, and global climate stability. For example, the Congo Basin is the largest rainforest in Africa, home to the endangered mountain gorilla and bonobos monkey. It is one of the top ten globally important spots for biodiversity, water quality and carbon storage, holding the equivalent of three years of global fossil fuel emissions. Major commodities produced include cocoa, rubber, shea, coffee, palm oil and timber. Two countries, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, account for (90%) of cocoa exports globally.

There are over 780 million smallholder farmers in Africa, many of them women, who hold a significant market share of key commodities while being the most vulnerable. Around 70% of the world’s cocoa is produced by 2 million smallholders in West Africa.

Proforest Africa started its major operations in Ghana in 2013. We work with governments, companies and civil society organisations to have a positive impact on the forestry and agriculture commodity sectors. We do this by building capacity, and facilitating multi-stakeholder processes for policy dialogue, joint learning, knowledge sharing and practical implementation.

Apart from our Ghana office, we have Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon staff. We work in other countries, including Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, Uganda and Madagascar.

We support companies and smallholder groups by clearly identifying the challenges of geographically specific socio–cultural and economic conditions, and breaking down the complexities of sustainability standards and commitments. We have supported many companies in Africa to deliver their commitments, including reducing deforestation through HCV-HCSA assessments and by achieving RSPO certification.

Our unique approach has led to us support RSPO National Interpretations, Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme and the Tropical Forest Alliance Africa Palm Oil Initiative. This has now been expanded to the Africa Sustainable Commodities Initiative, a single set of principles for responsible production across ten countries in West and Central Africa.

Capacity building and training is a key part of the process of alignment, enabling the different stakeholders to understand the issues and learn how they can each play a part in collaborative efforts. Our qualified tutors deliver training for a range of technical experties including the High Conservation Values (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS), and RSPO Lead Auditor certification courses.

Proforest’s Production Landscape Programmes in the region include working with the cocoa sector in Asunafo-Asutifi, a Hotspot Intervention Area, Participatory Land Use Planning for land use concessions in Liberia, including Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), and a multi-commodity programme in San Pedro in Côte d’Ivoire​, our largest landscape.

  • Sudcam and Hevecam (Corrie MacColl)
    Sudcam and Hevecam (Corrie MacColl)
  • Ghana Rubber Estates Limited (GREL)
    Ghana Rubber Estates Limited (GREL)
  • SIAT
  • Twifo Oil Palm Plantation (TOPP)
    Twifo Oil Palm Plantation (TOPP)
  • Biase Plantations (Wilmar)
    Biase Plantations (Wilmar)
  • BOPP