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Celebrating 50 Years of Global Cocoa Leadership: A Review of the International Cocoa Organization’s Golden Anniversary

Celebrating 50 Years of Global Cocoa Leadership: A Review of the International Cocoa Organization’s Golden Anniversary

Celebrating 50 Years of Global Cocoa Leadership: A Review of the International Cocoa Organization's Golden Anniversary

The International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), a key player in the global cocoa economy for the past 50 years, recently celebrated its golden anniversary in Côte d’Ivoire. The milestone occasion, covered extensively by various media outlets, presents an opportunity to reflect on the ICCO’s achievements and future strategies for growth and sustainability.

A Brief History of the ICCO

The ICCO was established in 1973 under the auspices of the United Nations. Operating within the framework of successive International Cocoa Agreements, the organization is composed of 51 member countries, 22 of which are cocoa-exporting nations, and 29 are cocoa-importing nations. These members collectively represent 92% of global cocoa exports and 80% of global cocoa imports.

Headquartered in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, the ICCO has been instrumental in achieving the objectives set in the Global Cocoa Agenda for a Sustainable World Cocoa Economy, which was established during the First World Cocoa Conference in 2012. This agenda serves as a roadmap for achieving a sustainable cocoa economy, addressing key challenges, and taking action with respect to sustainable cocoa production, industry chain, consumption, and strategic management of the cocoa sector.

The 50th Anniversary Celebration

The ICCO’s 50th anniversary is a landmark event that underscores the organization’s enduring importance in the global cocoa industry. The celebration brought together key stakeholders from across the cocoa industry to reflect on the ICCO’s achievements and discuss strategies for future growth and sustainability.

According to Michel Arrion, Executive Director of ICCO, the cocoa market has seen significant changes over the past five decades. While traditional cocoa-consuming countries in Europe and North America account for 70 percent of the consumption, these markets have reached saturation. In contrast, emerging economies like India and China are witnessing a rise in cocoa consumption, predominantly in the dairy products and biscuit industries.

The Future of Cocoa

Looking ahead, the ICCO sees major potential in the Indian market. While India is not yet a member of the ICCO, the rising consumption of cocoa in various industries opens up opportunities for growth. Moreover, other markets like Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, and Nigeria are emerging as significant players in the cocoa industry.

Arrion also highlighted the challenges faced by cocoa farmers, who often do not profit from the cocoa sector despite its high value. This issue is a key focus for the ICCO, which advocates for fairer international cocoa prices.

As the ICCO embarks on its next half-century, it will continue to promote sustainable development in the cocoa industry, focusing on supporting farmers, improving industry practices, and exploring new markets. The 50th anniversary celebration is more than just a milestone; it is a testament to the ICCO’s commitment to fostering a thriving, sustainable global cocoa economy.