Ghana and Ivory coast unable to gain industry agreement over minimum cocoa pricing
Ghana and Ivory coast governments have failed to reach an agreement with the confectionery industry over plans to create a minimum price for their cocoa supplies.
According to reports from Reuters, delegations from the two African countries, which make up around two thirds of the cocoa supply chain, met this Wednesday in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, with representatives from Hershey, Mars, Blommer Chocolate, Cemoi, SucDen, Mondelez International, Touton, Barry Callebaut, Cargill, Olam International and Ecom Trading.
However, despite Mars reportedly stating it would support the plan from Ghana and Ivory Coast – which sought a minimum price of $2,600 per tonne of cocoa, concerns were raised about how this could be implemented.
As previously reported by Confectionery Production, the plan for a minimum pricing structure for cocoa comes in response to falling prices for the commodity, which have resulted in the majority of farming populations remaining in poverty. Presently, global cocoa prices stand at just under $2,400 per tonne, compared, to nearly $3,500 as a global commodity back at a recent peak of nearly $3,500 per tonne recorded for the global market back in 2016.
According to figures from Fairtrade, just 12% of families within Ivory Coast earned what it termed a living wage of $2.50 per person, per day. Consequently, younger generations have been increasingly moving away from following family farming traditions across Africa, in the realisation that the cocoa farming industry does not offer a sustainable living.
Numerous efforts from cocoa companies including Mars Wrigley, Barry Callebaut, Mondelez International and Ferrero have sought to address such core issues with community farming projects and educational support through working with the governments in Africa including Ghana and Ivory Coast. However, the core issue of adequate farmer payment remains at the heart of the debate and no solution has yet been agreed.
Many observers, including the co-founder of the UK’s Hotel Chocolat, Angus Thirlwell, in a recent interview with Confectionery Production, argued that the overall retail price of chocolate products needs to be raised in order to bring about fairer wages for farming communities in Africa.