Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire threaten to suspend cocoa companies’ sustainability schemes

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GHANA’S cocoa regulator has threatened to suspend the sustainability schemes used by major cocoa and chocolate companies to assure consumers that the beans they use are sustainably and ethically sourced.

In comments to the World Cocoa Foundation conference on behalf of Ghana and its west African neighbour Cote d’Ivoire, Joseph Aidoo, Chief Executive of Ghanaian regulator Cocobod said on Thursday that cocoa and chocolate companies in West Africa were thwarting government attempts to combat farmer poverty.

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

Barry Callebaut, Nestle, Hershey and Mars reiterated their support and financial commitment to efforts by Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire to combat farmer poverty. Mondelez and Cargill did not respond to a request from Reuters for comment.

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

‘The (cocoa/chocolate) brands (have) openly announced their commitment to the LID (but) our intelligence indicates there is a ploy by some to derail (it),’ Aidoo said.

‘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,’ he added.

Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana have struggled to sell forward their 2020/21 cocoa crop since introducing the LID, in large part because the coronavirus-induced recession slashed demand for non-staple foods like chocolate.

Nestle, the world’s biggest food company, said it is paying the LID when buying its ‘normal volume of cocoa purchases’ from Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, adding it was one of the first to pay the surcharge 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 our business.’

‘While some in the industry are accelerating progress toward a modern, sustainable cocoa supply chain, others are not doing enough and must go further and faster,’ Mars told Reuters.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. That’s nice. But why is COCOBOD Ghana not paying farmers for their harvests?
    I have been waiting to get paid since August 13th 2020, when I took 5 truck loads of beans to COCOBOD, and it took them a week to check all my bags of beans. I have 34 workers waiting to get paid, and the holidays are approaching soon. Farmers have made a name for Ghana, and the way the government treats farmers, is totally wrong. In July 10 2018, I had the same problem with getting paid from CDH Commodities in Ghana. 6 months later I sued them for 8M and COCOBOD owns 50% of that company, and to this date, I have not been paid, and COCOBOD is holding all my money at a bank that has been closed since August 14 2017. From what I am hearing from others is that COCOBOD has no money to pay farmers, and is waiting for a syndicated loan of $1.3B to pay farmers? What a way of doing business. They can take your goods and then never pay you. I have also reported this to the World Cocoa Foundation. My workers haven’t been paid since July 10 2018, all because COCOBOD has no money to pay farmers

  2. Really?? Which cocobod are you dealing with? Are you an LBC? I can tell you there is not a single bean in Ghana which cannot be paid for by LBCs.

  3. I took my beans to CDH Commodities July 10 2018. I took them to court in 2019.High Courts of Ghana awarded me 8M, all taxes were waived for 2019 and 2020, do another harvest on all 100 acres, COCOBOD was to help me feed all 34 workers, fertilizer, and bug spray, Covid-19 showed up, and COCOBOD had to use their trucks for food deliveries around the country, so I had to pay 15K to move my beans to COCOBOD. and my harvest was 6.5M. With my lawsuit and this harvest came to 14.5M. COCOBOD wants me to pay 150K in taxes on the 6.5M. I don’t have 150K in tax money. COCOBOD in Accra Ghana. I had to take my beans there by order of the High Courts of Ghana. They are holding my money there.

  4. My lawyer told me that the High Courts of Ghana knows COCOBOD is holding my 14.5M and ever since I have had this farm Feb 2018, I have not been paid by no one in Ghana for 2 harvests, and I am not paying taxes on money I have not received. I shouldn’t have to pay taxes anyways, by order of the High Courts. My business is J & G Plantation

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