From last year, the two countries have had fruitful engagements here in Accra and in Abidjan, all aimed at reaching the set goals for respective countries.
Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Joseph Boahen Aidoo told another session of Joint Commission of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire that “the call is on us, and the challenge is ours to find an antidote to the poor reward our farmers receive despite their huge contributions to the chocolate industry”.
“Our commitment in the past months has shown that we are up to the challenge, and today’s meeting is another clear indication of our preparedness to make a difference,” he added.
“The essence of this continuous dialogue cannot be overemphasised considering the huge fall (40%) we have experienced in the price of cocoa in the past year, thus breaking the backbones of the economies of our two countries.”
He explained that as producers of about 65% of the world’s cocoa, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire must play a leadership role in ensuring fair farm gate price and sustainable cocoa industry.
Aidoo recalled that there has been a previous attempt between the two countries in that aimed at the same cause as today but fizzled out along the line, adding that “we cannot afford to make this another series of talk-shop”.
“The time to realise our vision is now. Let us enter our group discussions with the mindset of coming out with solutions to better the lots of our farmers; solutions that will guarantee them at least living incomes; and solutions that will give hope to the next generation of cocoa farmers. Let us make a difference,” he emphasised.
The COCOBOD Chief Executive commended Presidents Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Alassane Dramane Quattara of Côte d’Ivoire for initiating the Joint Commission of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.
The Head of Cote d’Ivoire Cocoa Authority, Kone Ibrahim Yves, proposed that cocoa producers form a cartel just like the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) since oil producers have realised huge benefits for their country but same cannot be said for cocoa.
According to him, even though the evidence of the benefit of oil production is clear in the gulf, there is no evidence to show corresponding benefit to West African countries, which produce about 73% of the world’s cocoa.
Ibrahim Yves believes the two countries should collaborate effectively for the industry, questioning why different people keep setting standards for Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.
He pointed out the need to collaborate on production, pricing and processing.
He further asked for improved consumption, which, he said, the two countries must set the example.