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May 29, 2024

World Cocoa Conference 2024: Stakeholders Call for Measures  to Address Pressing Issues

Clarion Olusegun

Stakeholders in the cocoa value chain have unveiled plans to address pressing issues in the cocoa industry, particularly relating to sustainability measures and adherence to new regulations.

Highlighting the success of the World Cocoa Conference in Brussels, Belgium, held from April, 21st – 24th, Comrade Adeola Adegoke, the National President of the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) said the event reinforced the commitment of stakeholders towards combating practices detrimental to the long-term sustainability of the cocoa industry. 

According to him, key among the discussions was the implementation of the European Union’s Directive on Deforestation and Forest Degradation (EUDR), which signals a collective willingness to embrace change.

Adegoke emphasized the need to ensure that these costs are not unfairly shouldered by cocoa producers, who have historically borne the brunt of challenges within the value chain.

He said there are big questions that need answers, which include who pays for making sure cocoa farming follows new rules without putting too much burden on farmers and whether other countries are ready to join in making cocoa farming more sustainable, not just the big ones like Ivory Coast and Ghana,  the procedure for the calculation of sustainable pricing or fair pricing that takes into consideration the cost of production and the profit margin without leaving the market model at demand and supply mechanism which has always short-changed the producers in past years?

“What happens to the encroached conserved areas with large cocoa plantations after 2020 which contribute almost 30% of the global cocoa supply if not more? How do cocoa origin countries strengthen the implementation of carbon credit in order for the producers to be encouraged in compliance?” He asked. 

He further drew attention to the preparedness of cocoa-producing nations beyond Ivory Coast and Ghana, which have traditionally received substantial investments in sustainability programs. 

Commending the European countries, Adegoke said they have demonstrated their uncommon passion for the consumption of chocolate at every corner of their daily activities. 

He therefore called on West African countries, saying, “West African cocoa origin countries must start to chocolatize the toques of our children in order to change the culture of low cocoa consumption that transcends from one generation to another. 

“Our power must not only lie on production but more energy must be put into consumption in order to raise the livelihoods of our producers for sustainability of the cocoa economy of our region.

Adegoke also called for a model of cooperation between forestry and agriculture departments within cocoa-origin countries to effectively implement the EUDR policy while addressing deforestation concerns.

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