Low cocoa prices amount to human right abuse – SEND Ghana

Chief Executive Officer for SEND Ghana, Siapha Kamara says the poor prices paid to cocoa farmers amounts to human rights abuses.

Siapha Kamara said the condition of cocoa farmers is deteriorating whiles market forces rather determine the prices for cocoa farmers.

He said this whiles speaking to journalists at a high level “Conference on Living Income and Human Rights in Ghana’s Cocoa Sector” on Wednesday.

The forum made up of Civil Society Organizations in the cocoa sector identified that six biggest chocolate companies in the cocoa sector alone made $11.6B profit in 2021, representing a 21.1 percent increase from previous year.

On the other hand, income coming to cocoa farmers decreased by 16.4 percent.

According to Siapha Kamara, the Civil society platform noticed that during the COVID-19 period consumption of cocoa products went up and the dividends paid to shareholders in the companies buying cocoa from Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire went up but the condition of cocoa farmers worsened.

“We can see it in the expansion of galamsey in the sector. We want to highlights the abuses in the sector especially in pricing and abuses against children and women.

“We are also saying that farmers in the cocoa sector should be supported to be self organised. Gone were those days when COCOBOD determined things for the farmers. Farmers should be left alone to be independent. The CSOs in cocoa sector is helping farmers to be independent and self organised.

“Gone are the days when children in the developed countries are chewing our cocoa and getting fat whiles children here are working and not going to school and dying, that dichotomy must not exist,” he stated.

A monitoring report released by German platform for sustainable Cocoa, (GISCO) which comprises 67 members including CSOs and government etc. noted that on average premium on cocoa ranged from 133 dollars metric tonnes in Cote D’Ivoire and $183 per metric tonnes in Ghana, however premiums are being paid on only about 50 percent of cocoa purchased in the two countries. The Cote d’Ivoire- Ghana Cocoa Initiative, CIGCI called for an average Free On Board (FOB) price of about 70 percent which translates into $1,820 per metric tonne to the farmer.

Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire alone contribute to about 60 percent of the world’s cocoa production.

The two countries recently boycotted a two day global conference on cocoa sustainability in Brussels, Belgium in protest over low support and resistance from the international chocolate market.

Assistant Executive Secretary, of the Cote D’Ivoire – Ghana Cocoa Initiative, Tawiah Agyarko- Kwarteng said.

“If we want to ensure the sustainability of the sector, the cocoa trade cannot be subjected to merely market fundamental is aligned to sustainability”.

According to her, In July this year, governments of the two countries invited 16 of the leading companies in cocoa to sign statements of intent towards the development of an economic pact for sustainable cocoa to take concrete steps to achieve higher prices for cocoa farmers.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Parliament’s Committee on Food and Agriculture, and MP for Abirem Constituency, John Osei Frimpong said parliament will continue to play oversight responsibility on the sector and ensure fair treatment to farmers.

“COCOBOD leadership and the government are in talks with the European Union where we send most of our cocoa. Recently we visited Brussels and even addressed their parliament and they are taking the matter up. We spoke about it. We told them the cocoa farmers are struggling in the producing countries. So this is something we are working hard to make sure the right thing is done. You see the challenge here is that they are into business and they take advantage of the situation and dictate the pace and take the chunk of our cocoa. It is only by this union with Cote d’Ivoire that we can fight this”.

Source: 3news