The two-world leading producers of cocoa, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire have agreed to the establishment of an office, in Ghana, responsible for the implementation of the Living Income Differential (LID), a major cocoa initiative aimed at addressing the poor living conditions among cocoa farmers.
The signing of the bilateral agreement for the Secretariat, to be hosted in Accra, is believed would further strengthen and expand the existing economic relations on cocoa and other related matters between the two countries.
The initiative binds both countries to commit to a common front on the global cocoa market concerning policy formulation, research, pricing, anti-smuggling, and sustainability initiatives in their countries to support growers of the crop.
LID was introduced in 2019 by the governments of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, to apply a premium of $400 per ton on the export price of cocoa from the 2020/21 crop. This additional revenue was intended to increase the incomes of farming families to help them achieve a living income.
The Deputy Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod), Dr. Emmanuel Opoku, who disclosed this observed that the bond that exists between the two countries enhances the pursuit of the LID.
He acknowledged COVID-19 has not only impacted cocoa production but also the sale of the commodity, on the international market. This resulted in the delay of cocoa purchases forcing Cocobod to look for alternative means to secure funds to pay cocoa farmers.
The Deputy Chief Executive of Cocobod, who was speaking at the 25th-anniversary celebration of Federated Commodities Limited (FEDCO), in Kumasi, also recognized the contribution of the company and its founder, the late Dr. (Alhaji) Adamu Iddrisu, to the cocoa industry over the years.
He also announced the record production of cocoa for the 2020/21 cocoa season.
FEDCO has established itself as one of Ghana’s leading indigenous cocoa buyers with a record share of about 7.5 per cent – over $100 million – of the national production in 2021.
The Managing Director of FEDCO, Hajia Maria Adamu, noted that the company is “focused on improving the lives of communities at the heart of our cocoa supply chain. Through education, facilitated finance and technology, our cherished farmers are realizing unprecedented improvements.”
She said in 2012, the company in partnership with a Swiss-based company started sustainability programmes for some international chocolate makers. “Currently, FEDCO has about 10,000 certified farmers on board and supplies over 55,000 metric tons of sustainable cocoa to its various clients.”
Additionally, Hajia Maria Adamu stated that FEDCO has about 13,000 cocoa farmers registered under the FEDCO Co-operative Farmers Association who benefit from various forms of training in financial literacy.
“This is ample demonstration of FEDCO’s relevant experience and expertise in cocoa certification and is ever ready for more partnerships and collaborations.”
She also disclosed that FEDCO has undertaken numerous corporate social responsibility programmes across various districts which have benefited several cocoa farmers and their households.
The Managing Director of FEDCO indicated that the company will continue to give its support to Cocobod, as it continues to introduce programmes and initiatives like the standardized scales and the Cocoa Management Systems (CMS), to help improve the industry.
She also advised farmers to endeavour to only sell well fermented and thoroughly dried cocoa beans to their purchasing clerks.
In all, over 170 FEDCO staff and cocoa farmers were given various award including television sets, motorbikes, farming tools among others.