The governments of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire on Tuesday expressed their commitment to unite towards setting up of a common floor price and fair living income for cocoa farmers to address the high income disparity in the cocoa value chain.
Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, addressing the opening of the maiden engagement with cocoa industry players on sustainable farmer income in Accra on Tuesday, said with the two countries accounting for 65 per cent of the global cocoa production, it was prudent for them to cooperate to tackle common challenges in the production and marketing of cocoa.
The move, he said, would instill efficiency in the domestic supply chain of cocoa production, alleviate poverty and ensure good living standards among smallholder cocoa farmers.
Data from the 2017 Fairtrade suggests a living income of about $6,133 per year or $511.08 per month. For a medium household size of six to eight, it proposed a daily income between $2.63-$2.12.
The same source suggested that the Ivorian cocoa farmer’s per capita daily income of $0.93, while their Ghanaian counterparts earned $0.40-$0.45 from cocoa, which represents nearly two-thirds of their household income.
Vice President Bawumia, therefore, urged participants at the forum to commit themselves to help tackle calls to guarantee a living income for farmers beyond mere poverty level.
“We need to develop an agenda and a roadmap to tackling this challenge and am hopeful of achieving consensus with you on this matter,” he stated.
The two-day meeting is at the behest of President Alassane Outtara of Cote ‘d’Ivoire and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana, which attracted key stakeholders including policy-makers, government officials, cocoa smallholder farmers, traders, cocoa processors, manufacturers and retailers.
The Ghana Cocoa Board and Le Conseil du Café-Cocao of Cote d’Ivoire are spearheading the discussion on proposals towards the setting up of a common Floor Price mechanism to address the high income disparity in the cocoa value chain.
Taking inspiration from the establishment of Oil Producing Countries (OPEC), Vice President Bawumia believed that it wouldn’t be out of place to form Cocoa Producing Countries (COPEC) to champion the interest of cocoa producing nations.
He noted that having a satisfactory price of cocoa beans would go a long way to complement the governments’ investments in rural infrastructure and improve the wellbeing of cocoa producing communities.
He said the Government and COCOBOD had taken steps to improve the conditions of cocoa farmers by implementing various interventions to improve farm productivity, preserve the ecosystem and discourage unethical labour practices and believed their Ivorian counterparts had adopted similar programmes to promote sustainability of the cocoa industry and enhance the living standards of cocoa farmers.
“The confidence in the Ghanaian economy is very high. The robust macro-economic performance and bright prospects were endorsed by capital markets in our recent Eurobond issue.
“Foreign direct investments have remained above $3 billion annually since 2011 and we look forward to welcoming more investment,” the Vice President added.
The Vice President said the Ghanaian economy had performed creditably in recent past which had helped to reduce the overall rural poverty, with the fiscal deficits such as the lending rate and inflation on the path of reduction.
Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board, in his welcome address, said the discussion would help strike a fair balance between sustainable cocoa production and reasonable living income for smallholder cocoa farmers.
He believed a fair living income would enable cocoa farmers to meet their production costs, provide the daily needs of their households and invest some of the monies in pension fund.
The global cocoa economy is estimated at $100 billion annually but Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire that produced 65 per cent of the world’s production base received only about four billion dollars annually.
It is on that basis the two largest producers of the commodity made a declaration in 2018 in Cote d’Ivoire for bilateral partnership to have a greater stake in determining the prices of cocoa.
This is aimed at ensuring that cocoa value chain benefitted smallholder farmers, alleviate poverty and eliminate unethical labour practices in the industry.