COCOBOD Woos Nigeria, Cameroon

Joseph Boahen Aidoo (middle) flanked by other officials of COCOBOD at the meeting

CHIEF EXECUTIVE Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Joseph Boahen Aidoo has stated that Africa will have a stronger say in the cocoa market in deciding prices, if Nigeria and Cameroon join the Côte d’Ivoire-Ghana Cocoa Initiative.

According to him, the four countries will collectively supply between 80% and 85% of the world’s cocoa crop and that forming a joint body to cooperate over research, price setting, and other areas will make them a “very formidable force within the African continent.”

The world’s chocolate market is estimated to be worth more than $100 billion, with money concentrated in a few multinational corporations.

In 2019, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, producing 60% of the world’s cocoa, joined forces in obtaining a premium per tonne of cocoa from the chocolate industry, which is called Living Income Differential (LID).

Speaking at a consultative meeting on the LID with key stakeholders from the Nigerian cocoa supply chain at the Cocoa House in Accra yesterday, Mr. Aidoo said cocoa prices are still low, even with the payment of the LID supplement.

“And therefore, Nigeria, coming in, and maybe Cameroon, will come onboard, so that we have a very formidable force within the African continent. If we can do that then, we can have a stronger say in the market when it comes to deciding prices,” he emphasised.

The COCOBOD boss explained that coming onboard would also mean that Nigeria will first have to be part of the Côte d’Ivoire-Ghana Cocoa Initiative.

Mr. Aidoo stated that the Côte d’Ivoire-Ghana Cocoa Initiative is a cocoa organisation, which is at the infant stage, and has “established a secretariat here in Accra. We are governed by a charter that has been passed by the national assemblies of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.”

He indicated that Nigeria would need to put in place the required structures for the LID to work, noting, “The governance system in the cocoa sector in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire is different from what you see in Nigeria and other places.”

He said it would be difficult for the LID to flow smoothly to the farmer without any centralised regulation, intimating that all the $400 ought to be given in total to the farmers.

The Nigerian delegation, led by Abdullahi G. Abubakar of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, was in the country to understudy the mechanism of LID and carry it to Nigeria.

He said cocoa is the highest non-oil contributor to Nigeria GDP and Nigeria is ranked number four amongst cocoa producing countries in the world.

“Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), being an organised umbrella body of small holder farmers across the cocoa producing states, seeks to improve the livelihood of their farmers through Living Income Differential of $400/tonne of cocoa beans sold.”

He noted that the unregulated and liberalised cocoa industry in Nigeria is depriving smallholder cocoa farmers of yearly revenues as they are unable to collect the LID of $400 per tonne being paid to smallholder cocoa farmers in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

BY Ernest Kofi Adu