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Cocoa Slump Affects African Farmers’ Payday

The steepest dive in cocoa demand in a decade has thrown into jeopardy a plan by top producers Ivory Coast and Ghana to guarantee some 2-million farmers a living wage. Leading chocolate-makers agreed to a proposal from the African nations last year to charge the industry a premium for cocoa beans and guarantee a minimum income to farmers who earn just $1 a day. But the scheme, set to come into effect in October, was based on expectations that international cocoa prices would stay within average ranges. Instead, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on demand has driven them to their lowest in nearly two years and they are expected to stay weak for at least a year. “It is not certain we will be able to guarantee farmers the amount originally expected,” a source at Ivory Coast’s cocoa regulator the Coffee and Cocoa Council (CCC), which sets the official farmer price each season, said. Farmers in Ivory Coast and Ghana said they had yet to be told they would receive any less and are counting on an increase for the upcoming season.