The CEO of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has insisted that there can only be cocoa sustainability if the industry agree to pay farmers commensurate price for the products.
According to him, there can not be any other means of sustaining the industry if stakeholders turn a blind eye to the issue of realistic price.
The cocoa board boss was speaking as a panelist at this year’s CHOCOVISION in Davos organised by Swiss chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut and attended by stakeholders from the entire cocoa value chain.
Even though the Ghana cocoa industry regulator accepts there are other factors such as diversification, the industry cannot turn away from the central issue.
Mr. Aidoo countered the argument that supply of cocoa is outstripping demand hence the fall in the price, he intimated that the issue has to do with processors not paying attention to expectations of consumers.
“How can we continue to produce chocolate with high concentration of sugar and milk and expect people who are concerned about sugar to continue taking it,” the COCOBOD CEO said.
Mr. Aidoo has therefore charged the industry to set a floor price that will be beneficial to all stakeholders.
“There is the need for a paradigm shift, we cannot continue this way.”
Cote d’Ivoire Minister of Agriculture Mamadou Sangafowa who was a panel member indicated that it is unfair for speculators in the Cocoa industry to benefit hugely to the disadvantage of Cocoa farmers, who are at the centre of the industry. Farmers get 3% of the $120 billion industry.
He said he cannot accept the fact that someone sits in London as a trader without seeing a cocoa tree and benefits more than the farmers
Representatives of processors and other industry players also argued cocoa producing country should control production and look at alternative income to complement income from cocoa sale for farmers in order to lift them from poverty.