Nigeria and Cameroon bid to join the Ivory Coast and Ghana cocoa initiative
A notable expansion of the Ivory Coast and Ghana Cocoa Initiative (CIGCI) supporting the West African cocoa trade could be on the horizon, as Nigeria and Cameroon reportedly express interest in joining the recently created initiative, writes Neill Barston.
As previously reported, the freshly-devised organisation has been backed by the region’s governments as a measure to offer key support for its farming communities in driving towards delivering a living income for agricultural communities that have struggled on below poverty-line conditions.
According to Ghana’s cocoa board (Cocobod), both Nigeria, led by the Engr. A. H. Abubakar the country’s Director of the Federal Department of Agriculture, and Cameroon’s Michael Ndoping, Chief Executive Officer of its National Office of Cocoa, addressed the Steering Committee of the Ivory Coast – Ghana Cocoa Initiative (CIGCI) at a meeting in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
This was reportedly set up following a declaration by the Presidents of Ivory Coast and Ghana to harmonise the cocoa trading strategies of the two countries to improve the incomes of cocoa farmers in the two countries in the wake of persistently low cocoa prices on the world market.
As Cocobod observed, since its short tenure began, the body has overseen the introduction of the Living Income Differential (LID), offering farmers an additional payment of $400 a tonne of cocoa- which has been long sought after by the region. However, the downward spiral of overall cocoa prices during the past year has meant that actual earnings have not reportedly improved for many working within the sector.
According to Ghana’s cocoa body, the country’s Minister for Food and Agriculture and outgoing Chairman of the Steering Committee, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto welcomed the move by the two countries, offering support to Nigeria and Cameroon in their bid to be part of the initiative. He stressed that better wages for cocoa farmers serving the confectionery sector was of crucial importance to the future sustainability of the sector.
Should the bid by the two African countries to join the initiative be accepted, it would mean that 75 per cent of the world’s cocoa would be sourced through the group of four nations, further strengthening its position.