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Voice of Cocoa

Stop Exploiting Cocoa Farmers with Demand and Supply Chorus

A Ghanaian cocoa farmer, Issifu Issaka, has challenged chocolate companies to stop hiding under the demand and supply chorus and pay fair prices that assure cocoa farmers a living income.

Issaka decried the continuous lip service and challenged companies to walk the talk on their numerous promises for living income for cocoa farmers.

Issaka argued that companies have for far too long been hiding behind market forces to constantly pay prices below the cost of production.

Speaking at a forum on the sidelines of the World Cocoa Foundation’s Partnership Meeting in Amsterdam, Issaka observed that while the cost of input and labour for cocoa production keeps soaring, the international market and farm gate prices have barely kept pace.

This, he noted, is sinking cocoa growers into a deep, unending hole of poverty, spawning production ills that threaten the sustainable production of cocoa.

The president of Ghana’s Sefwi Bekwai Cocoa Farmers Association explained that there was no way the government could sustain the cocoa sector if they did not address the pricing issue.

Issaka, who is also a Ghana Civil Society Cocoa Platform (GCCP), was contributing to a forum held on the sidelines of this year’s World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) Partnership Meeting in Amsterdam.

He explained that after two decades of conferences and discussions on sustainable cocoa production, the time is now for companies to pay remunerative prices for cocoa to demonstrate a true commitment to farmers’ welfare.

A fair and just price for cocoa, he believes, must be a matter of farmers’ right to a decent income and a life of dignity.

For him, it was worrying to note that cocoa communities and farmers who produced such an important crop continued to remain poor.

“Most of us live in extreme poverty with no alternative income-generating activities.

If we don’t do something at this time to give some level of assurance and some kind of motivation to our farmers in terms of pricing, then farmers will continue to sell their farmlands to these illegal miners,” he said.

The Ghanaian cocoa farmer revealed that sustainability programmes run by chocolate companies in Ghana benefited only 20% of farmers; the remaining 80% are neglected and wallow in a life of misery.

He noted that climate change is negatively impacting cocoa production at a time when the land area for farming activities is reducing drastically through illegal mining across almost all the cocoa-growing regions in Ghana.

Issaka pointed out that the continued rise in the cost of farm inputs such as fertilisers, pesticides, transportation, and farm machinery, as well as the cost of labour, makes the business unprofitable and not worth the sweat.

He advised chocolate companies to invest more in cocoa-growing communities in Africa to help sustain our cocoa and the cocoa industry.

Nana Yaw Reuben Jr.
Source Cocoa Post
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