Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Joseph Boahen-Aidoo has reiterated his call on the European Union (EU) to reconsider the element of cocoa pricing in its legislation. According to him, the legislation in its current form cannot sustain the industry and improve incomes of cocoa farmers.
Mr Aidoo made these comments when he met with a four-member delegation from the European Union to among others discuss ongoing conversations on sustainability, traceability and child labour within the sector.
The EU is the world’s largest importer of cocoa, accounting for 60% of world imports. Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Cameroon are major suppliers of cocoa into the EU market, with Ghana producing best premium quality.
Mr Aidoo said Ghana is committed to maintaining its status as the best producer of premium quality cocoa in the world, in addition to ensuring that cocoa cultivation is devoid of deforestation and use of services of children in cocoa farms and urged the EU to fulfil its part of the social contract.
The COCOBOD chief mentioned that, Ghana has worked to provide a common ground for sustainability. “Although deforestation is a huge challenge, we must consider that cocoa is the only crop which has preserved Ghana’s forest and supported global effort”, he emphasized.
On the issue of pricing, he mentioned that the Living Income Differential (LID) policy was introduced to mitigate poverty among cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and it is therefore imperative that particular attention is paid to the cocoa farmer who forms the basis for all the discussions. The Chief Executive added that the Board has introduced the Cocoa Management System (CMS) to ensure cocoa traceability and sustainability.
According to him, with all these interventions in place, the EU must also ensure that they meet their end of the bargain by paying the right prices for cocoa. He was grateful to the EU for various support and their Sustainable Cocoa Initiative to enhance the sustainability of cocoa production and trade.
Head of Cooperation, EU delegation to Ghana, Massimo Nina, who led the team, said the EU is committed to building stronger relations with COCOBOD in its efforts at ensuring traceability and sustainability.
He acknowledged the concerns raised, admitting, that the current pricing framework does not match the living income of cocoa farmers in the two leading producing countries.
According to him, there is the need for the European Union to take steps to ensure that cocoa farmers income and livelihoods are improved to correspond with their inputs in cocoa production.
He commended the Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire for their initiative to introduce the LID to mitigate the plight of cocoa farmers.
Mr. Massimo Nina further added that the Union would work closely with collaborators to ensure equitable pricing for cocoa farmers. “I must say your processes towards ensuring sustainability, traceability and elimination of child labour within the sector are on a good track”, he added.
The EU has over the years committed to a set of concrete time-bound actions to improve the sustainability of the cocoa supply chain in West Africa, to halt deforestation and child labour, and improve the living income of farmers.