From 9 to 10 November 2022, SEND Ghana hosted a two-day conference inviting key stakeholders in the Cocoa sector to discuss the current issues of income and human rights in the Ghanaian Cocoa sector.
SEND GHANA was established on August 4, 1998, under the name ‘Social Enterprise Development Foundation of West Africa.’
The organisation has evolved into a reputable and credible national Non-Governmental Organisation with speciality in;
- Policy research and advocacy focusing on pro-poor policy and development programme monitoring in Ghana and
- Service delivery through the promotion of livelihood security.
The conference took place at the AH Hotel in Accra and was organised together with the German partners of SEND Ghana, INKOTA and SUDWIND.
The aim of the event was to serve as a catalyst for improving the welfare of Cocoa farmers, including through increased government and private sector action to ensure a sustainable Cocoa sector.
As part of the results of the conference, new and innovative strategies are expected to be developed and implemented through strengthened partnerships and multi-stakeholder collaboration. The outcome of these actions should primarily be to improve the livelihoods of Cocoa farming families and their communities.
SEND Ghana’s CEO, Siapha Kamara, addressed the participants at the opening of the event and stressed the importance of stakeholders taking a critical look at the low Cocoa purchase price, which can be seen as a cause of poor living conditions for farmers.
According to Kamara, an important part of the conference was to highlight that not only does the Cocoa sector disregard the rights of women and children, but Cocoa buyers also inadvertently contribute to the violation of rights by continuing to buy Cocoa at extremely low prices.
The purpose is to highlight the various ways in which the cocoa sector is abusing the rights, especially of our children and women but more importantly to highlight that the poor prices being paid by the buyers of cocoa lie at the heart of the human rights violations. That is the main message.Siapha Kamara, CEO, SEND Ghana
Unless the buyers that are buying our cocoa can pay better prices to the farmers, the question of human rights, the destruction of forests and the use of child labour and abuse of women will continue.
He went on to explain that SEND Ghana believes that Cocoa farmers have the right not only to survive but also to thrive, considering the importance of the work they do for the country.
We believe that farmers should not just be living. They should be thriving. That should be the goal and that is why we prioritise two things. The first is that the buyers should pay better prices. Domestically we are also saying that Ghana is a democracy so farmers in the cocoa sector should be encouraged and supported by COCOBOD to self organise. There should be freedom to organise. We are encouraging the cocoa farmers to have an independent voice.Siapha Kamara, CEO, SEND Ghana
Tawiah Agyarko-Kwarteng, Technical Manager of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana Cocoa Initiative (CIGHCI), claims that there is still much to be done before Cocoa farmers will realistically be able to earn a decent income.
She appealed to private partners and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to work for change and an improvement in farmers’ living standards.
We will need the expertise of many to achieve our strategic vision of an Economic Pact for Sustainable Cocoa and ultimately, deliver on higher prices for the farmers on the pathway to a living income.Tawiah Agyarko-Kwarteng, in her speech delivered on behalf of Mr Alex Assanvo, the Executive Secretary of the Cote d’Ivoire Ghana Cocoa Initiative
We urge you all, as civil society, and indeed the private sector partners here today to look critically at the part you play in the value chain and ensure that we all are driving action that delivers impact for the farmer.
According to her, it is essential that the Cocoa sector offer a fair and equitable price to farmers who are at the beginning of the value chain.
Recently, a report by the German Platform for Sustainable Cocoa (GISCO) revealed that the premium for Cocoa averages between $133 per tonne in Côte d’Ivoire and $183 per tonne in Ghana. GISCO consists of 67 members, including CSOs and governments.
However, these premiums are only paid for about 50% of the Cocoa purchased from the two countries. The CIGHCI is therefore advocating for an average Free On Board price (FOB) of $1820, which is about 70% for farmers. This is part of the ongoing efforts by the two West African countries to improve the living standards of the farmers who are the foundation of their Cocoa sector. As many have voiced recently, this is not possible without the cooperation of other key players such as SEND Ghana.