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Cocobod Urges EU to Consider Cocoa Pricing In Due Diligence Legislation

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 Due Diligence legislation.

According to him, the legislation in its current form cannot sustain the industry and improve the incomes of cocoa farmers.

Mr Boahen 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 cocoa sector.

The EU is the world’s largest importer of cocoa, accounting for 60% of global imports.

Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Cameroon are major suppliers of cocoa into the EU market, with Ghana producing the best premium quality.

The COCOBOD chief executive assured 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 the 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 their support, citing the EU’s Sustainable Cocoa Initiative aimed at enhancing the sustainability of the cocoa industry.

The Executive Secretary of Cote d’Ivoire Ghana Cocoa Initiative, Alex Assanvo, observed that the ongoing global economic crisis has resulted in skyrocketing production costs, which has impacted farmers, but the price for the commodities we sell has not risen.

He reiterated that deep-seated poverty is the root cause of unsustainable cocoa production and must be addressed head-on.

“We need to make prices viable for farmers – prices that cover the cost of producing sustainably. And we need commitments to purchase at this price. Sadly, despite consensus, we all are struggling to make this happen,” he regretted.

Mr Assanvo commended the positive exchanges with the visiting EU delegation and was optimistic about deeper partnerships to forge a better future.

“We are all striving to meet this common objective to protect people and the planet. We need one another, simply because the challenge of delivering a living income and sustainable cocoa needs a real team effort but also it will cost. Despite some efforts from companies, too many farmers are still living below the poverty level. So more need to be done,” he emphasised.

The European Union’s Director General for International Partnerships, Dr Regis Meritan, 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 a 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 Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire for their initiative to introduce the LID to mitigate the plight of cocoa farmers.

Dr Meritan 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.

Source Cocoa Post
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