Tony’s Chocolonely commits to further farmer pay increase to raise cocoa supply chain living standards

Dutch-based ethically-founded chocolate brand Tony’s Chocolonely, has confirmed that it is set to increase its rates paid to farmers in key sourcing locations in West Africa, in the wake of similar moves by West African governing bodies, writes Neill Barston.

As the company noted, it will continue to pay a ‘Living Income Reference Price’ (LIRP) for crops in a bid to help move farmers out of poverty and enable a viable wage, confirming that it will raise its own prices paid to farmers by 18% on top of the national price in Ghana and 44% in Ivory Coast.

The voluntary move, which it is undertaking with its ‘open chain’ partners including Pleese, Huel and brands including Ben & Jerry’s and Aldi, comes in the wake of a decision from Ghana’s government to increase prices by 64%, and a corresponding reports rise reported in Ivory Coast, after commodity prices for cocoa soared to 40-year highs.

As Tony’s noted, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, where over 60% of the world’s cocoa is produced and Tony’s Chocolonely sources its cocoa, have long been plagued by deep-rooted issues of exploitation, child labor and deforestation in the cocoa supply chain caused by widespread poverty. In a move that protects farmers from crippling low prices, national governments attempt to ensure a fairer price for cocoa by setting the farmgate price every cocoa season, with the price this year increasing from $1,225 to $1,804 per metric ton in Ghana (+47%) and from $1,344 to $1,612 per metric ton in Ivory Coast (+20%), though initial figures from the region had suggested that only 11% uprating of prices had been achieved.

Current cocoa production and market dynamics have hiked up the farmgate prices for the 23/24 main crop season. While Tony’s Chocolonely recognises that the rise in cocoa prices is a positive development for farmers, the impact company also cautions that the Living Income Reference Price – the price that has proven to move farmers out of poverty and enable a decent standard of living – is still not met. Developed by Fairtrade with support of Tony’s Chocolonely, the LIRP is significantly higher than the national prices for cocoa: an additional $316 per metric ton in Ghana (+18% on top of the farmgate price) and an extra $714 in Côte d’Ivoire (+44% on top of the farmgate price).

Tony’s Chocolonely, who has paid a higher price for their cocoa since 2013, sees the LIRP as the first and crucial step with which all chocolate-using companies can address poverty and enable a decent livelihood for cocoa farmers.

“While we believe that the farmgate price increase of cocoa in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire is a step in the right direction, it’s crucial to recognize that it isn’t enough. Paying the Living Income Reference Price for cocoa is a core driver to enable farmers to earn a living income. Tony’s Open Chain invite companies to commit to paying the LIRP. A higher price for cocoa should become the industry norm. Together with our Mission Allies, we will keep working towards a future where farmers receive fair compensation.” Joke Aerts, Credible Scaling Lead at Tony’s Open Chain.


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