Increasing cocoa farmers’ income is our top ambition – Cocoa Initiative

The Executive Secretary of Cote d’Ivoire – Ghana Cocoa Initiative, Alex Assanvo, has presented his letters of credence to Ghana’s Foreign and Regional Integration Minister, Ayorkor Botchwey.

The Cocoa Initiative aims to achieve decent incomes for cocoa farmers in the two countries.

The two countries account for nearly 65 percent of the global supply of cocoa.

Speaking after the presentation of his credentials,
Mr Alex Assanvo, Executive Secretary, Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire Cocoa Initiative, said the Initiative’s vision was based on the ambition of the two countries to move the share of the value back to the countries and to help farmers to get more.
“The vision is increasing farmer revenue and that’s the top ambition,” he said.

“But from our perspective one things that is clear is that the cocoa of today will not be as we see in the future. So the consumer is willing and wants to see more transparency, wants to know where the cocoa is coming from, which shows that this is an opportunity for us to raise the bar.”

Mr Assanvo said Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana had shown the way by building the partnership to discuss not just about the environment as the consumer wanted but also that the farmer earned a decent income.

“We will have it as in balance conversation with all the consumer countries in Europe and the US that’s where we are going to,” he said.
“We also have to look at the market, so the market has very imbalanced practices but we recognize that we represent 60 per cent of production but we also see that the market have a massive influence, which is showing price declining today.”

“These are some of the discussions we are having with the top leaders in the market – the chocolate companies and the retailers.

We are not talking about increasing percentage, we are talking about rebalancing the market, so for us there are different strategies.”

He stressed the need for more consumption of cocoa in Africa, leveraging its health benefits.

Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Cocobod CEO, said the relationship between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire with respect to cocoa had been solidified with a Secretariat in Accra.

“We look forward to welcoming other countries to also join the Initiative on Cocoa and hopefully we believe that in the not distant future, we are likely to get some African cocoa producing countries joining the Initiative.

He said the event was significant because in the past, cocoa producing countries went to the market individually to fight for a price but now that Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire had joined forces, the two countries were in a very formidable position to go to the market and bargain.

And thus how come we were able to achieve a living income differential, it never happened.

On her part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs underscored the importance of
Cocoa to the two countries.

He said as the two leading producer countries Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire needed to have a strong voice in the industry.