The Colombian government along with cocoa production companies, Compañía Nacional de Chocolates and Casa Luker, has been reported to take a pledge to eliminate deforestation that has infamously characterized the country’s cocoa supply chain. The elimination process is expected to be complete by 2020.

The pledge comes on the heels of Colombia having joined the Cocoa and Forests Initiative, a global venture to grow cocoa without deforestation. Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire were the first two government entities to sign & implement the agreement in 2017.

Colombia is the first Latin American country to sign the Cocoa, Forests and Peace Initiative. Cocoa has been identified to be a priority by the World Cocoa Foundation for the growth of the Colombian agriculture for both export and domestic consumption.

Juan Guillermo Zuluaga, Agriculture Minister, Colombia, has been reported to say that Colombia’s signing of the Cocoa and Forests Initiative will augment the investment in the cocoa supply chain of Colombia as an increased interest in zero-deforestation cocoa has been exemplified in the cocoa industry.

The deforestation rate in Colombia has increased alarmingly since the conclusion of the peace process as off limit areas such as remote country sides have also been swayed by agricultural expansion and infrastructure development.

The National Meteorological Institute and Global Forest Watch recently released data that showed that in 2017 Colombia witnessed an increase of 46% in tree cover loss, which is twice as much as lost between 2001 to 2015. The World Cocoa Foundation (WFC) has commended the country for taking steps to arrest this loss.

Richard Scobey, WFC President, congratulated the Colombian government on the commitment to end deforestation due to cocoa plantation. He added that WFC and its other members in the global cocoa and chocolate industry will ensure sustainable cultivation of cocoa as well as the prosperity of cocoa farmers worldwide.