Ivory Coast and Ghana have threatened to name and shame chocolate brands that are not adhering to a scheme they agreed on to pay cocoa farmers a decent income.
The top two cocoa producers in the world introduced a premium scheme last year to ensure that cocoa farmers who are often poor are moved out of the poverty circle.
The neighbouring countries introduced a $US400 per tonne premium scheme known as the Living Income Differential (LID) at the start of a 2020/2021 season to pay farmers a decent income.
However, a decline in the demand for chocolate due to the Covid-19 pandemic and abundant harvest has led to a surplus of cocoa beans.
Reuters news agency quotes the Chief Executive of Ghana’s cocoa regulator, COCOBOD; Joseph Boahen Aidoo said, “while they are paying (the LID) on the right hand, they are taking the money from the left hand by not paying the country premium.”
“Once the country differential is discounted by between 100 and 250 pounds sterling, it means essentially the LID has been eroded,” Aidoo told the media on the sideline of a meeting where the countries launched an organisation to represent them.
He said this was unfair since consumers buy brand chocolates and pay the premium price for chocolate which should go to the farmers.
“This amounts to robbing the consumers by collecting premium on bars of chocolate and then refusing to pay when buying cocoa beans. Very soon, the buyers may force us to name and shame all those who are not paying the country premium.”
He declined to name the chocolate makers.
On his part, the Head of Ivory Coast’s Cocoa and Coffee Council regulator, Yves Brahima Kone, told journalists that some buyers in the sector had a short-term view.
“They want to make money today and do not think about tomorrow.” He added that even though the chocolate makers are unwilling to pay the LID, which could cost around $900 million globally, the industry was spending $5 billion on marketing.