The Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world’s two biggest cocoa exporters, reached an agreement on Thursday to improve cooperation in the areas of pricing and to fight other obstacles hindering the sector.
The Ivory Coast accounts for more than 40% of global production, while Ghana contributes for at least 20% of global output. However, according to world organizations, more than half of their farmers are below the poverty level.
West African cocoa farmers have banded together in an attempt to get a greater share of the chocolate industry’s profits by securing a premium per tonne of cocoa produced. However, the coronavirus epidemic has impacted worldwide demand, and purchasers are wary of seeing costs increase as a result of a glut of supply on the market. Nevertheless, the two West African cocoa producers who joined forces in 2019 want to continue their collaborative efforts.
At the occasion, Nana Kwabena PonKoh, a cocoa grower, said. “This kind of initiative is going to help all farmers of both countries… This is because the cost of even producing a bag of cocoa is so much for us,”
According to Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, they decided to establish a joint organization to collaborate on research, price-fixing, and “child labor.”
She then went on to say, “the two countries which produce about 60 percent of the world’s cocoa have coordinated on some of those issues before, but this new organization marks a formal step toward even more effective corporation.”
The global chocolate industry is believed to be worth more than $100 billion, with a few international companies dominating.
Experts in Ivory Coast say cocoa prices remain low, despite the so-called living income differential, or LID supplement, agreed by the two nations with chocolate manufacturers to assist farmers.
According to the World Bank, more than half of the million people employed in the industry live in poverty, earning less than $1.2 per day.