The Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Joseph BoahenAidoo, has invited cocoa producing countries in Africa to join the Ghana – Cote d’Ivoire Cocoa Initiative in order to give the continent a stronger voice in the cocoa value chain in the world.
MrAidoo said by signing unto the initiative, the continent which produces about 80 per cent of the world’s cocoa would be a stronger force in determining the price of the commodity on the global stage.
Addressing a five-member delegation from Nigeria who are in the country to understudy operations of the COCOBOD, MrAidoo said it would be in the interest of the continent to have that force to increase its share of wealth in the cocoa industry because it is unacceptable that the leading producers benefit less than 10 per cent.
“If Nigeria joins and hopefully Cameroon comes onboard, we can have a very formidable force within the global cocoa industry. If we are able to do that, then we can have a stronger say in the market when it comes to deciding the price of cocoa.
“We will be glad to have more countries joining the initiative because the size of the bird is determined by its feathers. If we can get more members joining, this organisation will become bigger and stronger,” MrAidoo said in Accra yesterday.
According to COCOBOD boss, the importing countries literallydictate the price of cocoa when the producing countries should rather be doing so.
“When you look at our share in this US$130 billion industry, it is not the best that we don’t even get six per cent. That is unacceptable. We have to come together as an African cocoa economic force to decide the price of cocoa to better the lives of our farmers.”
The Nigerian delegation, led by Abdullai G. Abubakar, Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, among other things to understudy is the Living Income Differential (LID), a policy which set aside a fixed amount of US$400 for a tonne of cocoa solely for farmers in Ghana and Cote d’Ivore.
To benefit the LID, MrAidoosaid Nigeria ought to put in place a structure to regulate its operations, join the initiative to benefit from the LID.
MrAbubakar was optimistic the visit would help improve Nigeria’s cocoa production from 340,000 tonnes to 500,000 tonnes by 2024.
As the fourth largest producer of cocoa in the world, MrAbubakar said “the unregulated and liberalised cocoa industry in Nigeria is depriving smallholder cocoa farmers of yearly revenues” hence the need to understudy Ghana profit the LID being enjoyed by Ghana and Ivorian cocoa farmers.
He agreed withMrAidoo that a stronger African force would be needed if the continent was to stamp its authority as the leading producer of the commodity and assured that the team would report to the Nigerian authorities for processes to begin to join the Initiative.
The Ghana – Cote d’Ivoire Cocoa Initiative, headquartered in Ghana, is an organisation born out of cooperation between the two countries to better the livelihoods of their cocoa farmers.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI