GHANA and Cote d'Ivoire have announced a collective decision not to sell their cocoa on the international market if they fail to obtain proposed floor price of $2,600 per tonne.
Cocoa is a major cash crop which is known worldwide for its beans used in the manufacture of chocolate.
The two countries, which supply more than 65 per cent of the world's cocoa beans, have also threatened to suspend sale of the cocoa beans on the global cocoa market from the 2020/2021, crop season until further notice if the proposed price is not accepted.
The decision, the Ghanaian Times understands, is to ensure that cocoa farmers are paid realistic prices and to give them a fairer share of the $100 billion industry that exists on the back of cocoa production.
It is thus, the outcome of continuous deliberations by a joint committee of experts from the two countries to representatives in the cocoa value chain, drawn from traders, processors and chocolate manufacturers, among others.
We applaud the government of the two countries for finally coming together to work for the benefits of our disadvantaged cocoa farmers, who have for years toiled to produce the beans but have received little benefits for their outputs.
For years, Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire have been major contributors to the West African bean blends, including Nigeria and Cameroon, which are normally used for the production of chocolate.
However, with only six per cent of the total value of chocolate going to farmers, poverty level of cocoa farmers from the two countries is so alarming that young farmers are not attracted to take up the vocation.
Out of the $100 billion, Ghana's receipt from the global cocoa industry is a paltry $2 billion, which explains why our cocoa farmers do not get a fair share of the wealth distribution in the value chain.
Thankfully, the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has assured that the two countries had put in place an emergency arrangement to deal with any repercussions that would arise from the decision to propose a floor price and suspend sale of cocoa beans if the proposal is not accepted on the global market.
We commend the efforts of the two governments to alleviate the poor financial position of cocoa farmers by determining a floor price that would ensure they are well remunerated.
We call on all stakeholders in the cocoa value chain to support the efforts to ensure a successful plan implementation.
While at it, we urge government to create the enabling environment for the development of industries which can process the cocoa beans into butter and provide the needed incentives to local chocolate manufacturers to scale-up production to be able to compete globally for a fair share of the growing chocolate industry.