EU says current cocoa price not cushioning farmers enough
THE European Union (EU) and global buyers of cocoa have to do more to raise cocoa prices to sustainable levels, as the current price is insignificant and not protecting the crop farmers enough.
The Head of Cooperation EU delegation to Ghana, Massimo Nina, said in a meeting with the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) in Accra this week that the current pricing framework does not match the living income of cocoa farmers in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, the two leading producers of the crop.
Consequently, Mr Nina said the union was committed to taking steps to ensure that cocoa farmers’ income and livelihoods were improved to correspond with their inputs in cocoa production.
He assured that the union would work closely with collaborators to ensure equitable pricing for cocoa farmers.
The 27-member union is the biggest buyer of cocoa in the world. It accounts for about 60 per cent of cocoa imports from Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, whose combined production equals about 65 per cent of global output.
The Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation to Ghana made the observation when he led a four-member delegation from the union met with the Chief Executive Officer, (CEO) of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, and his management staff on issues on cocoa.
The meeting, among others, discussed ongoing conversations on sustainability, traceability and child labour within the cocoa sector.
Also at the meeting was the Executive Secretary of the Cȏte d'Ivoire Ghana Cocoa Initiative (CIGCI), Alex Assanvo.
Mr Nina said the EU was building stronger relations with COCOBOD in its efforts at ensuring traceability and sustainability.
He commended Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire for their initiative to introduce the living income differential (LID) to mitigate the plight of cocoa farmers.
“I must say your processes towards ensuring sustainability, traceability and elimination of child labour within the sector are on a good track”, he added.
The EU has over the years committed to a set of concrete time-bound actions to improve the sustainability of the cocoa supply chain in West Africa, to halt deforestation and child labour, and improve the living income of farmers.
Earlier, the CEO of COCOBOD) called the union to reconsider the element of cocoa pricing in its legislation.
Mr Aidoo said the legislation in its current form could not sustain the industry and improve incomes of cocoa farmers.
Beyond being the second producer of the crop, Ghana’s cocoa is premium quality and, therefore, highly sought after by chocolate makers, especially those from Ghana.
COCOBOD’s CEO said Ghana iwa committed to maintaining its status as the best producer of premium quality cocoa in the world.
He said the country will also continue to ensure that cocoa cultivation was devoid of deforestation and the use of the services of children in cocoa farms.
As a result, he urged the EU to fulfil its part of the social contract.
Ground for sustainability
The COCOBOD chief mentioned that Ghana had worked to provide a common ground for sustainability.
“Although deforestation is a huge challenge, we must consider that cocoa is the only crop which has preserved Ghana’s forest and supported global effort,” he said.
On the issue of pricing, he mentioned that the LID policy was introduced to mitigate poverty among cocoa farmers in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana.
He said it was, therefore, imperative that particular attention was paid to the cocoa farmer, who formed the basis for all the discussions.
Mr Aidoo told the delegation that the board had introduced the cocoa management system (CMS) to ensure cocoa traceability and sustainability.
With all these interventions in place, he said the EU must also ensure that they meet their end of the bargain by paying the right prices for cocoa.
He was grateful to the EU for the various support initiatives and the union’s sustainable cocoa initiative to enhance the sustainability of cocoa production and trade.