The cost of chocolate and the unjust underbelly of supply chains

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    The Ivory Coast and Ghana are the world’s first and second-biggest cocoa producers.

    Yet, many people there are so poor that they can never afford the final product, a bar of chocolate.

    In the Ivory Coast, more than half of the farmers and workers in the cocoa industry were living in poverty in 2017, as per reports from the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO).

    This is partly due to an ongoing surplus in the global production of cocoa that resulted in a 58 percent price drop between August 2016 and May 2017. Both countries are still struggling to recover.

    It’s a no-brainer that two countries that do so much cocoa can make an impact … if they want to.

    Antonie Fountain, managing director, Voice Network

    The governments of the two countries have now decided to team up and attempt to secure a bigger share of the global chocolate profits with plans to coordinate production levels and sales policies.

    This may result in a price increase for the glossy end product and maybe even a potential dip in the net annual sales of global confectionary giants like Ferrero and Mars.

    Antonie Fountain is the managing director of the Voice Network, a group of NGOs and trade unions working together on sustainability in cocoa.

    He says that this recent announcement is no surprise: “Farmers [in the Ivory Coast] have seen their incomes reduced by 37 percent overnight. These farmers were already desperately poor and measures need to be taken to address the extreme poverty. The price crash was due – to a large extent – to overproduction and so the two major cocoa producing nations should work together to ensure that there is a higher cocoa price and managing the supply.”

    But how much power can cocoa producers wrangle in an industry dominated by some of the world’s biggest names in chocolate?

    “Ghana and the Ivory Coast together produce two-thirds of all the cocoa in the world. If they wanted to, if they make the right interventions, they could very much impact the situation of the world’s cocoa market – at least in the short to medium term,” says Fountain.

    The two countries are taking the first crucial steps towards making a difference by seeing each other as collaborators as opposed to competitors, with a long road to business integrity, trust and a better life for their cocoa farmers as the end goal.

    View the original article: https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/countingthecost/2018/06/cost-chocolate-unjust-underbelly-supply-chains-180619064812592.html

    Source: Al Jazeera

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