Ghana, Ivory Coast threaten to name and shame ‘cheating’ chocolatiers

Ghana and Ivory Coast, the world’s top two cocoa producers, have threatened to name and shame chocolate brands they say are undermining a scheme to pay cocoa farmers a decent income.

The neighbouring West African states account for over 60% of the global production of cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate. The countries have been locked in a protracted battle with chocolate makers over the price of their beans.

As a result, Ghana, together with Ivory Coast, introduced a $US400 per tonne premium scheme known as the Living Income Differential (LID) at the start of a 2020/2021 season to enable them to pay farmers a decent income.

The scheme is aimed at alleviating the poverty of farmers in cocoa-growing communities in both Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

The threat to name and shame is because, the two West African countries say, buyers are demanding discounts and, refusing to pay other premiums which take into account the quality of the cocoa beans.

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto and Joseph Boahen Aidoo at the meeting in Abidjan, Ivory Coast

“While they are paying (the LID) on the right hand, they are taking the money from the left hand by not paying the country premium,” the Chief Executive of Ghana’s cocoa regulator COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, said.

“Once the country differential is discounted by between 100 and 250 pounds sterling, it means essentially the LID has been eroded,” Aidoo further explained.

According to him, consumers buy brand chocolates and pay the premium price for chocolate which should go to the farmers.

“This amounts to robbing the consumers by collecting premium on bars of chocolate and then refusing to pay when buying cocoa beans,” the COCOBOD boss said.

He said this to the media in Abidjan on the sidelines of the maiden meeting of the Steering Committee of the Ghana-Côte d’Ivoire Cocoa Initiative.

Adding to this, Yves Brahima Kone, the head of the Ivory Coast’s Cocoa and Coffee Council regulator, told journalists that some buyers in the sector had a short-term view.

“They want to make money today and do not think about tomorrow,” adding that while the chocolate makers are reluctant to pay the LID which could cost around $900 million globally, the industry was spending $5 billion on marketing.

READ ALSO: Support Mechanisms To End Poverty In Cocoa Growing Areas – Agric Minister

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the committee, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has urged cocoa-growing communities to support the initiative to end poverty in those countries.

The chairperson, who also is the Agric Minister for Ghana, said, the achievement of the LID initiative has been characterised by a slow pace on the part of some participants.

He charged the meeting participants to ensure that all parties share the burden of compliance with the dictates of the initiative.

According to him, that was the only means to achieve the vision of both President Akufo-Addo and his Ivorian counterpart, Alassane Ouattara, regarding the initiative in ending poverty in cocoa growing areas in the respective countries.

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