Prime News Ghana

Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire suspend cocoa beans sales

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh
Cocoa farmers in Ghana
Cocoa farmers in Ghana

Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire have suspended the sale of cocoa beans to the open market under the 2020/2021 crop season until further notice.

The suspension was announced in Accra on Tuesday, June 11 by the two countries to about 300 stakeholders in the cocoa value chain, comprising traders, processors and chocolate manufacturers.

It is part of efforts by the two countries, which supply more than 65 per cent of global cocoa figures, to get stakeholders in the value chain to give farmers a fair price that reflects their contribution to the sustenance of the cocoa industry.

Reports indicated that the gesture, which is the first of its kind by the world's top two cocoa growers, is meant to put pressure on stakeholders to adopt a floor price for the soft crop.

Under the arrangement for a floor price, the two countries have agreed that none of them will sell their produce in the international market below the agreed minimum price.

Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire are holding a joint two-day meeting with buyers, processors of cocoa beans from all over the world to discuss proposals of setting a minimum price for the cocoa bean produced by the two countries.

The meeting has been necessitated by the fact that the two countries only get US$6 billion annually in the US$100 billion-dollar chocolate industry despite producing about 60 percent of the world’s cocoa needs.

The two countries last year unveiled plans to coordinate cocoa production and marketing as part of efforts to exert more control in the market after price volatilities in recent years.

A tonne of cocoa, according to the International Cocoa Organisation, is being sold in excess of US$2,390 on the world market. The goal of the two-day meeting is to discuss the possibility of agreeing to a minimum price which is enough to keep the cocoa farmer in business.

Cocobod has said it has always taken the hit when the price of cocoa slumps on the world market as it is unable to push the price drop to the cocoa farmers. Hence, its collaboration with Cote D’Ivoire to agree to a floor price will not only safeguard the farmers’ investment but the interest of the two countries.

Besides discussing the minimum price for cocoa beans, other issues expected to come up in the two-day meeting will include the use of child labour on farms, deforestation, among others.