The governments of the Ivory Coast and Ghana have reportedly joined forces to create a new body designed to set cocoa market prices, combat child labour and enhance research between the two West African nations.
As reported by Reuters, the latest joint venture emerged following calls for enhanced farmer payments championed at last year’s meeting of the European Cocoa Association, which was attended by Confectionery Production.
Between them, Ghana and the Ivory Coast are the largest cocoa sector producers in the world, responsible for 60% of trade, and have been exploring for some period how greater combined initiatives, which has led to the creation of the new Ivory Coast-Ghana Cocoa Initiative.
The core goal of the new body will be do represent the joint interests of the two countries on international markets – which has led to the development of the so called Living Income Differential, a premium of $400 dollars per tonne paid by confectionery groups starting from this October.
As both governments have acknowledged, raising farmer payment remains a major priority given that many agricultural workers’ earnings remain trapped below UN-defined poverty levels that has threatened the future sustainability of the industry. This situation has had a significant effect on the sector, with many working within agriculture being of an older generation, as younger populations seek better paid work in urban locations.
The creation of the new Ivory Coast-Ghana Cocoa Initiative is set to take effect before the new growing season on October 1, with the increase in ‘farmgate’ prices also said to be aimed at addressing issues of smuggling between the countries’ joint borders.
Further details on how the joint organisation will operate have yet to be released by either Ghana or Ivory Coast’s government, though they come at a particularly challenging moment for the two country’s cocoa production operations.
This was underlined by the International Cocoa Organisation’s latest quarterly production statistics, which showed that cocoa production forecasts for the 2019/2020 growing season showed that global levels were expected to be at 4.75 million tonnes for the year, with a revised tally forecast for 4.72 million, down 1.2%, as confectionery manufacturers reduce purchasing amid the global coronavirus pandemic.