At the head of the initiative until 2025, Alex Assanvo, the executive secretary of the Ivory Coast Ghana cocoa initiative, is already unrolling his machine with the idea that cocoa cannot be a product that does not evolve only under the theme of poverty. This Monday, June 21, on the occasion of the first meeting of the steering committee held in Abidjan, the former director for Côte d’Ivoire of the Mondelez chocolate group (formerly Kraft Foods) reaffirmed that the Decent Income Differential (Drd ) is a hope… and will not die.
For Alex Assanvo, cocoa produced by Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana will be sold with Drd. A decision of the States which, according to him, remains inescapable. “That the market doesn’t accept it is good. We can go and buy the beans elsewhere for those who want… But we are going to fight, because we are making efforts to ensure that this product is planted sustainably. We are not going to accept that other countries as African as Asian or elsewhere, go through what the Ivory Coast and Ghana go through; pressure that is not connected to a need … This is a message to the European Union. People have left Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to buy elsewhere. But these cannot tell us what sustainability measures or due diligence are applied to look to other markets. When we accuse the Ivory Coast and Ghana, we have to look at cocoa in its generality, “protested the executive secretary of the Ivory Coast Ghana cocoa initiative. Allusion also made to the multinationals which have, in reality, succeeded in bending the two big producers in the purchase of beans at less than 400 dollars a tonne.
The two neighboring countries of West Africa which account for 60% of world production, through the Côte d’Ivoire Ghana cocoa initiative, argue that if today we are talking about the sustainability of cocoa, it is a will of everyone, not just the consumer. “This sustainability must go through a decent income for the growers; this is the only way for us to make the cocoa sector attractive, “they say.
According to Kobenan Kouassi Adjouani, the Ivorian Minister of Agriculture and Sustainable Development who chaired this first meeting of the steering committee, in the presence of his Ghanaian counterpart Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the DRD is a capital tool for the harmonization of living conditions of planters. A “capital tool” whose “strict compliance” matters in the face of the specter hanging over the cocoa sector.
In addition to the Agriculture Ministers of Ghana and the Ivory Coast, the meeting also brought together the Coffee and Cocoa Council headed by Yves Brahima Koné and Cocoa Bord of Ghana. The presidency, which is the supreme body of this new institution, will be chaired by Dr Owosu Afriyie Akoto. The presidency rotates, while general management is provided by Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana houses the headquarters.