The Food and Agriculture Minister, Bryan Achaempong, has emphasised the importance of vigilance among stakeholders involved in the Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire cocoa cooperation framework – urging them to safeguard the cooperation against the influence of external actors who may attempt to undermine the joint effort for their personal benefit.
As part of efforts to promote and enhance the welfare of cocoa farmers and overall sustainability for the cocoa industry, the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and Le Conseil du Café-Cacao (CCC) of Cote d’Ivoire in collaboration with their respective governments established a strategic partnership with mutual goals and outcomes.
While much progress has been made through our joint effort, some challenges yet persist; particularly in managing country differentials and effectively mitigating the influence of external factors. We must remain vigilant and use all channels to protect our cooperation from the interests of certain multinationals and foreign governments that seek to exploit our joint efforts for their gain,” the minister said during a recent meeting of top officials from both countries in Accra.
“By doing so, we can maximize benefits and ensure the long-term success of this cooperation,” he added.
Despite the countries being the top-two producers of cocoa – accounting for approximately 60 percent of global supply – they continue to lag in receipts from the market: which were valued at US$14.5billion in 2022 on account of factors such as smuggling and minimal value addition.
The joint initiative, known as the Cote d’Ivoire-Ghana Cocoa Initiative, CIGCI, has made significant progress toward achieving several objectives: including improving cocoa farmers’ livelihoods through remunerative prices; addressing marketing challenges; enhancing farmer incomes; combatting smuggling; and boosting processing and domestic consumption.
“The cooperation between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire holds tremendous potential for improving the economic benefits derived from cocoa production in our countries. Through our joint action, we have laid the foundation for a better future to achieve higher international cocoa prices and secure the well-being of our cocoa farmers. While challenges persist, we remain committed to finding solutions,” the agric minister said
The minister also noted that the CIGCI’s immediate focus should be to realise a fully-operational secretariat, which will play a crucial role in consolidating the gains attained through the Living Income differential, monitoring compliance, and advancing both countries’ position on the international stage.
While the Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire cocoa cooperation has made significant strides in addressing challenges of the international cocoa market, the minister acknowledged that some challenges persist – particularly in managing country differentials and effectively mitigating the influence of external factors.
“Our country-centric approaches to tackling this challenge proved ineffective at wielding the necessary influence within the global cocoa fraternity, thereby failing to secure income for our farmers,” he said. “There was therefore need for a different approach; one wherein we join forces and embark on a joint action to seek common solutions to enhance the welfare of cocoa farmers and overall sustainability of our cocoa industries.”
The minister explained that synergising efforts to address challenges of the global cocoa market requires an integrated approach that fosters trust and transparency between stakeholders. He stressed the importance of maintaining a steadfast commitment to the CIGCI’s objectives, which include harmonization of production and marketing policies; sharing scientific and technical knowledge for mutual benefit, and encouraging domestic and regional consumption and utilization of cocoa.