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26.06.2019 Business & Finance

COCOBOD Urged To Cut Ties With World Cocoa Farmers Organization

COCOBOD Urged To Cut Ties With World Cocoa Farmers Organization

The Ghana Cocoa, Coffee and Sheanut Farmers Association (COCOSHE) have called on the Ghana Cocoa Board to disassociate itself from the World Cocoa Farmers Organization (WCFO).

This follows a decision by the government and Côte d’Ivoire to suspend the sale of the 2020/2021 crop until further notice for preparation of the implementation of the floor price.

In a statement signed and issued on Wednesday, the National President of the Association, Alhaji Alhassan Bukari accused WCFO of attempting to rally support in kicking against the decision announced by the two countries.

According to the Association, "WCFO in its communique curiously failed to acknowledge the broader issue of cocoa farmer empowerment or the importance of the floor price that has been agreed upon in principle, towards the effort to begin to pay cocoa farmers, many of who live in poverty, a remunerative price for our produce, so that every one of us can begin to afford an improved standard of living for ourselves and our families.

"The organization chose instead to focus on the subsidiary matter of the suspension of the sale of cocoa beans in the successive crop season and goes on to make erroneous remarks and subsequently draws erroneous conclusions on the matter," it added.

They also asserted that WCFO's action is aimed at disrupting an important step to truly help alleviate the hardship of farmers, and further stated that the Organization cannot hold itself as a legitimate representative of cocoa farmers in either of the two countries, hence the need for COCOBOD to disassociate itself from them.

Read full statement below:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Ghana Cocoa, Coffee and Sheanut Farmers Association (COCOSHE) have taken notice of the communique from the World Cocoa Farmers Organization (WCFO) issued on 17 June 2019, attempting to rally support in kicking against a decision announced by Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana after their joint two-day stakeholder engagement on sustainable cocoa farmer income.

First of all, the COCOSHE which represents thousands of farmers in Ghana, the overwhelming majority of which are cocoa farmers, has publicly endorsed and fully associated itself with the decisions and actions taken by the government of Ghana over the past three years, particularly in collaboration with the government of our neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire to improve our cocoa farming businesses and the welfare of our members, their families and communities.

WCFO in its communique curiously failed to acknowledge the broader issue of cocoa farmer empowerment or the importance of the floor price that has been agreed upon in principle, towards the effort to begin to pay cocoa farmers, many of who live in poverty, a remunerative price for our produce, so that every one of us can begin to afford an improved standard of living for ourselves and our families.

The organization chose instead to focus on the subsidiary matter of the suspension of the sale of cocoa beans in the successive crop season and goes on to make erroneous remarks and subsequently draws erroneous conclusions on the matter.

It ignores the glaring fact that the suspension only stands, pending the preparation for the implementation of the floor price by a twenty-member technical committee composed of representatives from the major stakeholder organizations in the worlds cocoa industry, including representatives of farmers, following which the suspension will be lifted.

The world needs to wake up and acknowledge the reality of the massive wealth inequality which is entrenched within the multi-billion-dollar international cocoa industry. We the cocoa farmers, who form the foundation of the industry also earn the least share of the industry wealth.

For decades we have asked for change and that is why we support this latest bold move by Le Conseil du Café-Cacao (CCC) and the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, respectively.

One will expect that any individual or organization, claiming to represent the interests of cocoa farmers will, at the very least, endorse a good attempt to empower them and not issue a statement, as WCFO have done, flaunting an inflated sense of importance and kicking against the progress of same farmers.*

The Executives of WCFO from their headquarters in the Netherlands have arrogated the powers of broad representation of cocoa farmers, when we the farmers in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, who are literally on the ground in our farms daily and collectively supply the world with sixty-five (65) percent of its cocoa beans, have not even heard of WCFO, not to talk of witnessing the organization contribute towards farmer empowerment.*

This latest action by WCFO is obviously aimed at disrupting a very important step to truly help alleviate the hardship of farmers. We at COCOSHE, the true representatives of cocoa farmers in Ghana find WCFO’s statements very unfortunate. We know our counterpart in Côte d’Ivoire share in our disappointment.

For the avoidance of doubt, we must state clearly that, farmers, small farmer-cooperatives and larger farmer associations in the two counties (Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana) were part of several consultative meetings which took place over the years in the lead up to the event held on the 11th and 12th of June 2019, where the decision on the floor price was reached and on which occasion we were also present to articulate our thoughts.

To conclude, we call upon Conseil du Café-Cacao (CCC), the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and other stakeholders within the cocoa industry to disregard the unfounded claims of WCFO. We go further to ask that CCC and COCOBOD should sever ties, if any, with this organization. It cannot hold itself as a legitimate representative of cocoa farmers in either of the two countries,

Alhaji Alhassan Bukari

National President

Ghana Cocoa, Coffee, and Sheanut Farmers Association

Cc:

• The Chief Executive, COCOBOD

• The Director General, Le Conseil du Cafe-Cacao

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