Ivory Coast and Ghana Cocoa Initiative creates working group to improve market prices
The Ivory Coast and Ghana Cocoa Initiative (CIGCI), have established a working group of member countries and sector stakeholders, aiming to drive improved cocoa pricing mechanisms and deliver a sustainable sector for key farming communities facing major tests, writes Neill Barston.
According to the organisation, which is supported by Ghana’s governing industry body, Cocobod, and Ivory Coast’s Le Conseil du Café-Cocoa, its latest strategic move will identify recommendations by the first quarter of 2023, against a concerning backdrop of agricultural communities facing crisis conditions.
As has previously been reported, cocoa farmers in the two West African nations have faced significant hurdles to achieving a living income, with crop prices experiencing a strong downturn in value, as well as ongoing pandemic issues, and major spike in fertiliser prices that have become unsustainable.
The situation was highlighted at this year’s World Confectionery Conference in Brussels by Fairtrade International, which underlined the significant problems faced by farmers in Ghana and Ivory Coast, many of whom presently earn less than $1 a day, far below UN poverty definitions.
In the wake of this, both Ghana and Ivory Coast boycotted planned attendance at the World Cocoa Foundation partnership held recently in Brussels, with authorities from both countries expressing concern that progress on sustainability and cocoa pricing in particular had not been sufficient.
Consequently, the CIGCI has now called on companies to deliver immediate action while Committing to Joint Efforts to Develop Everlasting Price Mechanism Following a November 8, 2022, statement in which Le Conseil du Café-Cocoa (CCC), with the support of the Ivory Coast-Ghana Cocoa Initiative (CIGCI) and the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod), invited the cocoa and chocolate industry to plan for the effective resumption of purchases in accordance with their commitments. CIGCI member countries met with chocolate and cocoa companies to evaluate the present key market challenges.
As the organisation noted in a statement, at a meeting with the sector, Executive Secretary of the CIGCI, Alex Assanvo, the Director General of the CCC, Kone Brahima Yves, and the Managing Director of the Cocoa Marketing Company, Vincent Akomeah representing the Chief Executive of Cocobod, Honorable Joseph Boahen Aidoo, noted the efforts made by certain companies and their desire to jointly find solutions for sustainable cocoa production that places farmers at the heart of this strategy.
The CIGCI, the CCC and the Cocobod insist on the need to work together for a more tangible, concrete actions on the part of all stakeholders in the cocoa value chain so farmers are not the only ones to bear the costs in a difficult economic climate.
Significantly, it asserted that a failure by the industry to show greater commitment to buying trends will have an extremely negative impact on the lives of millions of small-scale cocoa farmers in Ivory Coast and Ghana, for whom cocoa farming is the only subsistence income they have.
Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana have therefore reiterated the need for companies in the cocoa industry to respect the implementation of the Living Income Differential (LID), to guarantee a sustainable income for farmers in the two countries. At the end of this meeting with the industry, the CIGCI, the CCC and the Cocobod, noting the cocoa purchasing efforts by applying the LID and a positive country origin differential of certain companies, encourage all companies to act and show they sincerely believe in sustainable cocoa production.