GNF - Sustainable Cultivation of Cocoa and Shea in Ghana

Implementation of Biodiversity Action Plans for the Cultivation of Shea and Cocoa


The Global Nature Fund and the Lake Constance Foundation are working together with Fairtrade to implement biodiversity action plans for the cultivation of shea and cocoa. The project supports small farmers in implementing biodiversity measures that secure long-term yields on the one hand and guarantee ecosystem services on the other.

Shea butter is an important export commodity


The north of Ghana is characterized by tree and grass savannahs, the habitat of the native shea tree, also known as the karité or shea nut tree. The seeds of the shea tree are used to produce shea butter – one of the most important export products – which is used in cosmetics and food. However, the yield of wild trees has been declining for years. The shift of the rainy seasons as well as the decreasing number of bees and other wild pollinators reduces fruit formation.

Sustainable cocoa cultivation


Unlike the shea tree, cocoa plants can be cultivated. However, many of the agricultural practices used have a negative impact on the environment. A sustainable, environmentally friendly cultivation in harmony with nature offers possibilities to secure the yield without using chemical substances.



Biodiversity in Ghana is under increasing pressure from agricultural expansion, mining, logging and other socio-economic factors. Approximately 22,000 hectares of forest are cleared annually, and about 35 % of the country's surface area is exposed to desertification. Lowered groundwater levels, sedimentation of river courses and increased flood risks are the consequences of increasing drought and climate change. Many aquatic ecosystems suffer from eutrophication; untreated municipal wastewater and nitrate from agriculture are major contributors.


The economic loss caused by the decline in biological diversity due to deforestation and land degradation is estimated at about 54 billion US dollars (about 4 % of the gross domestic product) in Ghana.

 Cocoa Fruit
 Savannahs landscape in Ghana
 Group photo during the meeting and workshop in autumn 2017 in Ghana
 Shea nut trees
 Cultivation of Cocoa

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Project partners:

2017 - 2018




Life Programme of the European Union, Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU), Fairtrade


Bodensee-Stiftung (Lake Constance Foundation), Fairtrade