On 20th March 2008 the Nature Conservation Research Centre (NCRC) and Earthwatch, launched a community-led ecotourism initiative at the village of Adjeikrom, in the Fanteakwa district of Ghana.
The initiative, generously funded by Cadbury Schweppes, will introduce visitors to Ghana’s cocoa industry and showcase the benefits of environmentally friendly cocoa farming. Guided visits and hiking trips to functioning cocoa farms, walking and biking tours and camping excursions will be organised by the local community. The Adjeikrom visitor centre will also host lectures about cocoa farming, display information about ‘the story of chocolate’ and sell locally manufactured souvenirs and products. In 2008 alone, the community hopes to generate over £8,000 and significantly expand employment opportunities.
"This is the first time cocoa farm tourism has been trialled in Ghana," explains John Mason, Executive Director for NCRC. "The initiative is based on the highly successful community ecotourism model that we have already helped to establish in 30 villages throughout the country. We hope it will enjoy the same success as the Wechiau hippo sanctuary, founded in 2004 in North-West Ghana." *
The Adjeikrom enterprise is one of two outcomes from a three year field research project, established to explore the feasibility of cocoa tourism and sustainable cocoa farming. Since 2005, teams of Ghanaian students and international volunteers from Cadbury Schweppes have joined Earthwatch scientists from the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana to collect data on different cocoa farms.
In time, the partners hope to demonstrate that cocoa grown in a more ecologically balanced environment will benefit biodiversity while providing farmers with a more sustainable source of income.
"Preliminary research results indicate that cocoa grown in shaded conditions, where native trees are retained, substantially improves biodiversity on the cocoa farms," says Nat Spring, Head of Research at Earthwatch (Europe). "Our long term goal is to support wildlife while helping Ghana's farming community to boost their livelihoods through a combination of improved farming practices and ecotourism."
The results from this research project will be shared with government agencies, local farmers and cocoa industry experts at a workshop hosted by the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) in March 2008.
For more information, interviews and images please contact:
UK enquiries about the project -
Zoe Gamble, Earthwatch PR Manager, + 44 (0) 1865 318852 / + 44 (0) 7725690469 / email@example.com
Laura Castle or Lauren Goddard, Cadbury Schweppes, + 44 (0)207 830 5011, Laura.Castle@csplc.com or Lauren.firstname.lastname@example.org
Ghana enquiries about the ecotourism launch -
Alex Asase, Earthwatch field scientist, 00233 244 697485, email@example.com
Nat Spring, Earthwatch Head of Research, + 44 7779107222, firstname.lastname@example.org
* From 2000 to 2004, Earthwatch field research teams collected valuable biological data and NCRC collaborated with 17 local tribes to establish the sanctuary. It has subsequently brought considerable income, employment and infrastructure to the area and succeeded in mitigating conflict between farmers and the hippos that damaged their farmland.
Notes to Editors
- Earthwatch Institute (Europe) is an international environmental organisation whose mission is to engage people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment.
- Earthwatch Institute (Europe) is the European affiliate of Earthwatch Institute, which is based in the USA and founded in Boston in 1971. Other affiliate offices in the Earthwatch Institute network are based in Australia and Japan.
- Earthwatch makes research grants of over £3 million in support of around 130 projects each year. Earthwatch recruits volunteers from the general public and partner organisations to share the costs of a research project, and to join it as research assistants. In the past 30 years, Earthwatch field assistants have contributed 10 million man-hours to research internationally.
- Earthwatch projects are divided into four Research Areas including sustainable resource management, climate change, oceans and sustainable cultures.
- Cadbury recently launched the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership to secure the economic, social and environmental sustainability of around a million cocoa farmers and their communities in Ghana and also India, Indonesia and the Caribbean.
- This ground-breaking initiative, which will be carried out in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other partners, marks 100 years since the Cadbury brothers first began trading in Ghana and aims to holistically support the development of sustainable cocoa growing communities.
- For further information, visit http://www.cadburyschweppes.com/EN/EnvironmentSociety/CadCocoaPartnership/
- The organization was formed in early 1996 as a result of inspiration from Dr. Jane Goodall to John Mason to form a new conservation organization in West Africa as there were so few active groups. It has grown to be the largest NGO conservation group in Ghana and one of the largest in the sub-region.
- NCRC is a registered non-profit organization in Ghana which is governed by a 9 member Board of Directors. The Board meets 3 times a year to steer the organization’s affairs. NCRC has its head office in Tesano, Accra and local offices in Ho, Volta Region and Bolgatanga, Upper East Region. It is opening a new local office in Techiman, Brong-Ahafo Region in 2004.
- The Centre has 25 Ghanaian staff and 12 international staff including seconded staff from zoological societies and volunteer organizations.
- NCRC is the leading organization (including governmental and non-governmental) in Ghana developing ecotourism destinations in rural communities.