Cocoa Regulators May Suspend Companies Sustainability Schemes

In a conference on behalf of Ghana and its west African player Cote d’Ivoire, Joseph Baohen Aidoo, chief executive of Ghanaian regulator Cocobod said cocoa and chocolate companies in West Africa were upsetting the government’s effort at combating farmer poverty.

The World Cocoa Foundation through Ghana’s cocoa regulator (Cocobod) has threatened to suspend the sustainability schemes used by major cocoa and chocolate companies. The system assures consumers that the beans they use are sustainably and ethically sourced.

In a conference on behalf of Ghana and its west African player Cote d’Ivoire, Joseph Baohen Aidoo, chief executive of Ghanaian regulator Cocobod said cocoa and chocolate companies in West Africa were upsetting the government’s effort at combating farmer poverty.

Consequently, their sustainability schemes, which allow companies such as Barry Callebaut and Nestle to charge consumers a premium for chocolate certified as sustainably sourced, might be suspended.

Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, which together account for two-thirds of the world’s cocoa, introduced a living income differential (LID) last year on all 2020/21 cocoa sales and said the proceeds would be used to raise the income of cocoa farmers who earn an average of $1 per day.

Aidoo explains that “Any brand that is seen not to be serious in accepting the LID by mid-December 2020 must consider all its cocoa beans from Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire as conventional. We are prepared to name and shame these brands,”

Barry Callebaut, Hershey, Mars, and Nestle restated their financial commitment to efforts by Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire to fight farmer poverty.

Related: Ivory Coast President Ouattara Honours Ghana’s Cocobod CEO

World’s biggest food company, Nestle said it is paying the surcharge when buying its “normal volume of cocoa purchases” from Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. It added that it was one of the first to pay the LID when it was introduced.

Chocolate makers Barry Callebaut and Mars also said they were paying the surcharge, but did not specify volumes. Hershey said it pays the LID when buying 2020/21 cocoa based on the needs of its business.

Both countries have struggled to sell forward their 2020/21 cocoa crop since introducing the LID, in large part because the coronavirus-induced recession lowered demand for non-staple foods like chocolate.

Aidoo also urged cocoa farmers at Wassa Amenfi in the Western South region to enrol on the Cocoa Management System (CMS) being spearheaded by the Board to improve operations within the cocoa sector.

The CMS Project was launched to capture accurate data on cocoa farmers in Ghana to facilitate and enhance planning in the cocoa sub-sector.

He inducted an eleven-member executive team of the Wassa Amenfi Cocoa Farmer’s Cooperative Union at Wassa Akrapong. It is made up of over 800 registered cooperatives.

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