The Ghana Cocoa Board’s (COCOBOD) Chief Executive, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, is encouraging fellow Cocoa-producing countries in Africa to join the Ghana – Cote d’Ivoire Cocoa Initiative.
The initiative is based in Ghana, and it was established as part of a collaborative effort between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire aimed at improving Cocoa farmers’ livelihoods.
According to Mr Aidoo, the African nations that collectively produce about 80 per cent of the world’s Cocoa should band together in order to have more authority in commanding the price of the commodity.
In particular, COCOBOD has their eyes set on Nigeria to be the next member of the initiative. Mr Aidoo addressed a five-member Nigerian delegation during their visit to Ghana to study COCOBOD’s operations, and explained how their support would be in the interest of the continent as a whole. “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,” explained the Chief Executive. He adds, “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.”
Mr Aidoo has expressed his displeasure with how importing countries dictate the price of Cocoa, while the global leaders in Cocoa production have no say in the matter and are left to receive less than 10 per cent of the total value.
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.Mr Aidoo, CEO, COCOBOD
The Nigerian delegation, led by Abdullai G. Abubakar, Director of the Federal Department of Agriculture, visited Ghana in order to learn from COCOBOD, in the hopes to replicate some of what they learned in their own operations. Nigeria is currently pushing to be included in the LID scheme, which benefits Cocoa farmers in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, by paying them a flat rate of US$400 per tonne of Cocoa.
Mr Aidoo said that in order for Nigeria to benefit from the LID scheme, the country needed a structure to regulate its operations. Mr Abubakar appeared to agree, saying “the unregulated and liberalised Cocoa industry in Nigeria is depriving smallholder Cocoa farmers of yearly revenues.” He expressed optimism that the visit to learn from Ghana’s COCOBOD would help to improve Nigeria’s Cocoa production from 340,000 tonnes to 500,000 tonnes by 2024.
Both Mr Aidoo and Mr Abubakar agreed that combining the forces of the African countries would strengthen the continent’s authority and would ultimately be necessary if they hoped to command Cocoa prices in the future.
Photo source: Nestlé | Flickr