Ghana’s cocoa sector is a major contributor to the country’s economy, providing jobs to millions, but for a long time now the sector has come under severe pressure from bad pricing, poor living conditions and rigid policies by international partners.
Activities of underprivileged interventions are not only depleting our forest and affecting the livelihood of cocoa farmers, they are also a threat to the country’s food security.
The pro poor interventions, by both local and foreign actors, have over time eroded the gains made in the sector and pose a great threat to the sustainability of the local sector and to the country’s economy.
A worrying phenomenon that further compounds the problems of Ghana’s cocoa industry is the lack of full supply transparency on sustainability payments, including living income differentials, country differentials and certification premiums in the sector.
At the launch of the 2022 cocoa barometer report here in Accra by VOICE Network, EcoCare Ghana and Solidaridad West Africa, the report finds that a combination of public policies, private sector purchasing practices, and agricultural solutions are needed to achieve good pricing for our cocoa farmers.
The Barometer developed by the VOICE Network of civil society organizations across the globe shows that there remains a wide range of problems facing families in cocoa communities, including child labour; gender inequality; (infant) malnutrition; lack of access to education; insufficient health care facilities and sanitation; and a variety of labour rights violations for smallholders, workers, and tenants.
The report also revealed that environmental issues such as deforestation and climate change remain a growing concern; Top-down national and international government strategies aimed at increasing cocoa production to address poverty tend to support the chocolate industry while failing to address these issues.
Chairman of Cocoa Abrabopa Association and a member of the Ghana Civil Society Cocoa Platform (GCCP), Ismaila Pomasi, speaking on behalf of his colleagues said poor prices continue to remain daunting puzzles yet to be tackled meanwhile multinational companies are busily talking about sustainability.
“The cost-of-living crisis is putting further pressure on farmers in Ghana. “In the past, after selling my cocoa beans, I used to plan my expenses and charges for my household, but this is becoming very difficult now.
Prices of products are far beyond my provisions and am struggling to make ends meet” he said.Leticia Yankey, Founder of Cocoa Mmaa Association said that, this is the time for companies to develop a time-bound living income action plan that includes purchasing practices.“In fact, pricing is a disincentive to cocoa farmers in Ghana and must be addressed immediately or else it will affect yields” she said.
Executive Secretary of the Cote d’Ivoire Ghana Cocoa Initiative, Alex Assanvo said he agrees that, multinational companies must be able to offer a remunerative price, a fair and just price for the farmers who are at the start of the value chain, to enable them to have a living income.“We will need the expertise of many to achieve our strategic vision of an Economic Pact for Sustainable Cocoa and ultimately, deliver on good pricing” he said.
ABOUT THE COCOA BAROMETER
The Cocoa Barometer is published biennially by a global consortium of civil society actors: ABVV/Horval, Action against Child Exploitation (ACE), Be Slavery Free, EcoCare, European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT), Fair World Project, Fern, Green America, IDEF, Inades Formation, INKOTA-netzwerk, Global Labor Justice/International Labor Rights Forum, Mighty Earth, Oxfam America, Oxfam Belgium, Oxfam Ghana, Oxfam Novib, Public Eye, Rikolto, Roscidet, SEND Ghana, Solidaridad, Südwind Institut, Tropenbos International, Tropenbos Ghana, WWF France.