Even before the Côte d’Ivoire -Ghana Cocoa initiative headquarters is fully established in Accra to champion the welfare of cocoa farmers in the two countries, some minor cocoa producing countries on the continent have applied to join the group.
The Ghana-Côte d’Ivoire Initiative was promulgated by the two leading producers of cocoa in the world to improve the livelihood of cocoa-farmers. As part of the move, the two countries pushed for a US$400 a tonne Living Income Differential (LID) on cocoa sales for the 2020/21 crop season which will directly go to farmers.
Speaking at a ceremony to sign a treaty that will empower Ghana to establish the Côte d’Ivoire -Ghana Cocoa initiative headquarters in Accra, the Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo disclosed that the initiative has achieved more than anticipated even before its inception.
“A number of countries are knocking on the doors of the initiative to join. The day is therefore coming when the secretariate in Accra will be serving not only Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire but all cocoa producing countries in the West African sub-region and beyond,” he said.
Mr. Boahen Aidoo announced that the decision to establish the headquarters in Accra has gained more weight and leverage with the physical presence of the secretariate of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) —which is also Accra.
He maintained that the headquarters will not only be a physical building but will be pivotal in achieving and improving the general wellbeing of cocoa farmers on the continent. “The establishment of the Côte d’Ivoire -Ghana Cocoa initiative headquarters will provide the much-needed coordinated effort to ensure compliance of the dictates of the Living Income Differential,” he stressed.
Acknowledging the role played by the Ivorians, Mr. Boahen Aidoo applauded Massandje Toure-Liste, a former Director General of le Counseil du Café-Cacao of Côte d’Ivoire and the incumbent Monsieur Kone Brahima Yves for their immense contribution to the establishment of the headquarters in Accra.
Leadership of the Côte d’Ivoire -Ghana Cocoa initiative headquarters
The first Executive Secretary of the Côte d’Ivoire -Ghana Cocoa initiative is Alex Pierre-Anaud Assanvo from the Côte d’Ivoire.
Ghana’s Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto has been elected in accordance with the secretariate’s charter to chair the Steering Committee of the initiative. His colleague serving in the same position from the Côte d’Ivoire, Kobenan Kouassi Adjoumani was in charge of the functional secretariate for the initiative.
Purpose of the initiative
Among others, the secretariate will be coordinating the implementation activities of the initiative in member countries in collaboration with the coordinator as well as compiling and submitting to the Steering Committee the five-year strategic plan and annual work programme of the technical committees for considerations and adoption.
Also, the secretariate shall submit an Annual Report to the Steering Committee at its February meeting for consideration. Furthermore, the secretariate shall submit an annual report on its activities to the Technical Committees for evaluation in November each year. It is also mandated to submit an annual budget to the Steering Committee for consideration and approval at its meeting in August for the ensuing year.
Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire took a bold step in June 2019, to start an initiative that was later seen by many as a masterstroke that would bring some relief to cocoa farmers in the cocoa processing value chain.
Even though the two countries produce close to 60 percent of the global cocoa beans, farmers in these regions are among the poorest in the world. For decades, the two countries have worked had to produce millions of tonnes of cocoa beans to feed multinational confectionary and chocolate factories in Europe and Asia.
More refreshing, cocoa beans from the two West African regions are seen to be of high quality, particularly, Ghana’s cocoa–which is ranked as having a premium rate.