The Executive Secretary of the Ghana – Cote d’Ivoire Cocoa Initiative, Alex Assanvo, has assured that the organisation would address what he said is the imbalance in the cocoa value chain.
According to him, with Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire contributing 60 per cent of the world’s cocoa, it was unacceptable for the two countries to benefit just six per cent of the value chain worth US$100 billion.
Presenting his letter of credence to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, in Accra yesterday, Mr Assanvo said the two leading cocoa producers must take their rightful place in the cocoa industry.
“This initiative comes at a time where we have great imbalance between producer income and profit of chocolate makers. It is the high aspiration of this organisation to rebalance the situation,” he noted.
Acknowledging the importance presidents Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Outtara of Cote d’Ivoire, Mr Assanvo said “I will do my best with the support of the COCOBOD and it’s counterpart in Cote d’Ivoire and with the ministry to help advance the agenda of the two Heads of state”.
He said the importance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration in achieving the balance cannot be overemphasised.
“We have a lot of discussion at the international level including the European Union, UN and we will require your support at all levels,” he told the Foreign Minister.
Underscoring the importance of cocoa to the two countries, Madam Ayorkor Botchwey described the imbalance as great injustice to Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
“How can it be that 60 per cent of the world’s cocoa comes from here yet we don’t have much of a say in determining prices as our farmers wallow in poverty?” He asked rhetorically?
“[As lead producers in this industry], Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire must have a strong say in what happens in this industry.”
Assuring Mr Assanvo that he has the support of Ghana to be able to function, Madam Ayorkor Botchwey wants the two countries to encourage local and increased consumption in their respective countries.
The Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, speaking in an interview with journalists on the sideline of the meeting said production and consumption remain the best bet for the two countries if they were to increase their share of the US$100 billion.
“Our best bet is processing and consumption because if we are able to process and consume more of our cocoa here, that is where we will be taking our fair share of the value.
Stating that there is elaborate plan to produce and consume more locally, Mr Boahen Aidoo said the age demographics play to the advantage of the two countries; a demographic that would be utilise to the advantage of farmers in particular and the nation as a whole.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI