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Africa’s Cocoa Producers Want a Fair Deal

The world’s top cocoa producers, Ghana and Ivory Coast, boycotted meetings in Brussels of the World Cocoa Foundation on cocoa sustainability this Wednesday and Thursday (October 26 and 27). Authorities in the two West African countries accuse multinational chocolate companies and traders of blocking measures to improve cocoa farmers’ incomes. Ghana and Ivory coast’s grievances concern the Living Income Differential (LID) set at a standard of $400 per tonne and charged on top of world prices. The LID was introduced in 2019 to guarantee cocoa farmers a minimum price that would improve the income of farmers, many of whom live in poverty. Both countries account for about two-thirds of global cocoa production, but farmers in those countries earn less than 6% of revenues in a chocolate industry valued at more than $100 billion a year. Arguing that farmers have always been given a raw deal when it comes to pricing, four civil society organizations in Ghana and Ivory Coast have thrown their weight behind the boycott. The World Cocoa Foundation, a group representing 80% of the global market, says its 2022 meetings are to discuss steps to improve farmer pay, combat child labor and end deforestation linked to cultivation of the crop.