IVORY COAST – Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, through the Coffee and Cocoa Council (CCC) has commenced a nationwide distribution of electronic cards to cocoa farmers to help track beans from plantations to their export ports and ensure the growers are paid a guaranteed price for their produce.
The exercise is part of a response to plans by the European Union to ban imports of commodities including soy, beef, palm oil, wood, cocoa, and coffee, and products linked to deforestation and rights abuses by 2024.
“The European Union voted a new law that will be implemented soon, and this pushes us to develop a traceability and certification system,” CCC head Yves Brahima Kone told hundreds of cocoa farmers collecting their cards in the northern city of Agboville.
The CCC has already given out 100,000 cards since a pilot project in April last year. It aims to distribute around 50,000 cards per month until the end of the current season.
The new card system, which will start operating at the start of the next cocoa season on Oct.1, will enable the CCC to reject beans grown illegally and trace them from plantations to the ports of Abidjan and San Pedro.
The cards are also integrated with an electronic payment and wallet system that will allow farmers to get the guaranteed farmgate price of 900 CFA francs ($1.52) per kg of beans, which many buyers do not respect.
According to the EU–the world’s largest importer of cocoa, accounting for 60% of world imports, cocoa production entails particular risks relating to child labor, low revenues for local farmers, deforestation, and forest degradation.
In November 2022, The European Union and its partners announced they are raising 450 million euros (US$442 million) to support Ivory Coast’s push to tackle child labor and deforestation linked to cocoa production, while also improving farmer pay.
Team Europe, made up of the EU, its member states, and multilateral European lenders, indicated that the new funding would boost the strategy by Ivory Coast to make the production of the key chocolate ingredient more sustainable.
The investment plan came on the back of a dialogue on sustainable cocoa, dubbed the ‘Cocoa Talks’, involving the EU and public and private stakeholders, along with selected representatives of the two main producing countries, Ivory Coast and Ghana.
The dialogue aimed to enhance cooperation and coordination to support sustainable cocoa production in the framework of the Living Income Differential (LID) initiative, launched by the two producer countries to ensure decent revenue to local farmers.
Cocoa and Chocolate players and processors such as Mondelēz are also seeking to increase the number of farming households reaching a living income, enhance child protection systems and achieve no deforestation on Cocoa Life farms globally.
The multinational confectionery launched phase 2 of its Cocoa Life program backed by an additional US$600 million through 2030, bringing its total investment to US$1 billion since the start of the program.
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