The argument focuses on the Living Income Differential a policy that Ivory Coast and Ghana introduced in 2019 to fight poverty among cocoa farmers in the global $130-billion chocolate market.
Venance Brou Kouadio is a cocoa producer. He says: “The cocoa you ask for is made for you. But you don’t buy it for the price you have to pay for it.
“The premiums you have to give us, we don’t receive them, so it’s like stealing. You steal from us. The big groups steal from us. They don’t respect the contract and they don’t respect us, they don’t respect the farmers.”
Cocoa farmer, Julien Kouamé Konan, agrees.
“The Westerners who come to buy cocoa are getting rich,” he says.
“Meanwhile, we are suffering. We earn nothing. We suffer cultivating the fields, that’s why we ask the government to help us”
Farmers should receive around 6 percent of the value generated by the chocolate market but, while the cost has been factored into the price of the chocolate chocolate giants are clawing that back by putting pressure on another premiums based on the quality of cocoa beans.
If the multinationals do not respect their commitments by 20 November, the two countries are threatening to “prohibit access to plantations to carry out crop forecasts” and to “suspend sustainability programmes.”
Appoline Yao Ahou is cocoa producer and says: “I am angry. I am angry because farmers are working, but when the government sets the price per kilo of cocoa, the buyers on the ground do not respect that price.
“As farmers, we don’t earn enough money while the cost of living has increased.”
Virtually all of Ivory Coast’s crop is purchased by roughly half a dozen majors. Of this, around 80 percent heads to Europe.