Low cocoa prices amount to human right abuse – SEND Ghana
Siapha Kamara, the chief executive officer of SEND Ghana, claims that the low prices offered to cocoa growers constitutes a violation of their human rights. According to Siapha Kamara, the situation of cocoa growers is getting worse while market forces rather decide their prices. On Wednesday, he made this statement to reporters during a high-level “Conference on Living Income and Human Rights in Ghana’s Cocoa Sector.”
The six largest chocolate businesses in the cocoa sector alone produced $11.6 billion in profit in 2021, a 21.1 percent rise from the previous year, according to the forum of civil society organizations in the industry. On the other hand, the amount of money that cocoa producers received fell by 16.4%.
According to Siapha Kamara, the Civil Society Platform observed that while cocoa farmer conditions deteriorated throughout the COVID-19 era, consumer demand for cocoa goods increased and earnings given to stockholders in the corporations buying cocoa from Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire increased.
“We may observe it in the sector’s growth of galamsey. We wish to draw attention to industry abuses, particularly those related to price and violence against women and children.
“We are also advocating for the encouragement of self-organization among cocoa growers. The time when COCOBOD made decisions for farmers is long gone. Farmers ought to be permitted their independence. Farmers are assisted by CSOs in the cocoa sector in becoming independent and self-organized.
He said, “That duality must not exist. Gone are the days when children here work and don’t go to school while children in wealthy countries eat our cocoa and get fat.
According to a monitoring report issued by the German Platform for Sustainable Cocoa (GISCO), which has 67 members, including CSOs and the government, premiums are paid on only about half of the cocoa purchased in the two countries. Premiums ranged from 133 dollars per metric ton in Cote D’Ivoire to $183 per metric ton in Ghana. Approximately 70% of the average Free On Board (FOB) price, or $1,820 per metric tonne, was requested by the Cote d’Ivoire-Ghana Cocoa Initiative (CIGCI).
Only Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire together account for nearly 60% of global cocoa production. A recent two-day international conference on cocoa sustainability in Brussels, Belgium was boycotted by the two nations in retaliation for the market’s lack of support and opposition.
Tawiah Agyarko-Kwarteng, assistant executive secretary of the Cote D’Ivoire-Ghana Cocoa Initiative, said. “The cocoa trade must be subjected to solely market fundamentals is tied to sustainability if we want to maintain the sustainability of the sector.”
She claims that in July of this year, the administrations of the two countries requested 16 of the top cocoa firms to sign declarations of intent to form an economic accord for sustainable cocoa to take effective efforts to increase prices for sustainable cocoa.
John Osei Frimpong, a member of parliament from the Abirem Constituency and the chairman of the committee overseeing food and agriculture, stated that the house would continue to have oversight responsibilities for the industry and guarantee that farmers received fair treatment.
“The government and COCOBOD leadership are in discussions with the European Union, to which we export the majority of our cocoa. We recently traveled to Brussels and spoke to their parliament, and they are now addressing the issue. We discussed it. We informed them that farmers in the nations that produce cocoa are having difficulty. Therefore, we are making a lot of effort to ensure that this is handled properly.
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”.