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Ensuring that cocoa farmers receive a decent income by allocating to them a fair share of the market value of the produce, is the only way to ensure sustainable cocoa farming practices and industry as a whole, says the Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo.
To that end, he added, that the Living Income Differential (LID) was instituted to ensure that cocoa farmers earn a living income from their labour.
“Without the LID there cannot be any sustainable cocoa farming because if the farmer is not getting a fair share of the market value, then definitely, one cannot truly expect to see sustainability been properly practised on the farm, because sustainability does come at some cost to the farmers.”
Hon Aidoo made these statements in a meeting with the Dutch Ambassador to Ghana, Ron Strikker, who paid a courtesy call on him at the Cocoa House in Accra on Monday, 24th May 2021.
Low farmer earnings is a major disincentive to sustainability, he cautioned. A poor farmer who cannot practice intensive agriculture to increase yield on a small piece of land may then resort to looking for more land with fresh fertile soil to cultivate and this contributes to deforestation.
The international cocoa industry must be fair to farmers, he asserted. The kind of energies which the international organisations have committed to the campaign for sustainability, traceability and the like must also be devoted to ensuring that cocoa farmers earn remunerative incomes, he added.
“All stakeholders in the international cocoa trade need to give fair consideration to the environmental, social and particularly, the economic factors which impact farmers ability to farm sustainably, so that farmers are neither burdened nor their earnings eroded while they do the right thing.”
In his response, Ambassador Ron Strikker acknowledged that Ghana’s cocoa sector is very important to the economy of the Netherlands, as it is the biggest importer of cocoa in Europe, with a major chocolate industry that relies on regular shipments of cocoa from Ghana.
He agreed with Hon Aidoo that cocoa farmers need to be given a better share of the value of cocoa. “Basically, the price of a kilo of cocoa beans needs to go up”, he said, “because we do know that as long as you do not have a sufficient price the farmers will be badly affected.
He said the Netherlands is very much interested in greater cooperation between the two countries to improve the cocoa sector.
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