Ivory Coast: Fairtrade Boosting Cocoa Farmers Income

Fairtrade International says sales of fairtrade certified cocoa from the Ivory Coast in the fourth quarter of 2019 increased farmers’ earnings by approximately US $15.1 million compared to non-fairtrade cocoa.

About two-thirds of the world’s cocoa is grown by smallholder farmers in the Ivory Coast and Ghana. More than 190,000 Ivorian cocoa farmers are members of Fairtrade certified cooperatives, and approximately 140 Ivorian cocoa cooperatives sold 64,000 metric tons of cocoa on fairtrade terms in Q4 2019, according to traders.

While Ivorian and Ghanaian governments plan to institute a mandatory living income differential in October to ensure all farmers receive a higher take-home pay, Fairtrade certified cooperatives are already experiencing an increase in wages. To narrow the gap for cocoa farmers to earn a living income, Fairtrade partners with chocolate companies and retailers to test various interventions that impact price, income diversification and other components of a holistic strategy. In the last quarter of 2019, Fairtrade raised the price farmers in the Fairtrade system took home by 17 percent.

“The additional money that farmers are receiving as the result of the Fairtrade Minimum Price is a step in the right direction, as is the government’s Living Income Differential for all cocoa farmers,” said Jon Walker, Fairtrade International’s senior advisor for cocoa. “However, many cocoa farming households still will not earn a living income, even with these higher prices. That’s why Fairtrade is working with cooperatives, their commercial partners and governments to determine what factors effectively enable farmers to actually achieve a living income. This includes not only price, but also income diversification and cost efficiency, for example. It’s essential for major chocolate suppliers and brands to continue to step up their commitments since that’s the only way farmers will truly see a sustained impact.”

“Cocoa farmers deserve to earn a decent living just like anyone else,” said Anne Marie Yao, West Africa regional cocoa manager for Fairtrade Africa. “The additional funds going into the pockets of these farmers are the tangible result of shoppers choosing Fairtrade-certified chocolate. It makes a big difference.”

An update on fairtrade & other eco-labels is regularly given at the Sustainable Foods Summit. Upcoming editions will be in San Francisco (20-21 January), Singapore (15-16 March), and Amsterdam (9-11 June). More details are on the website.

Source: Candy Industry, Ecovia Intelligence (24/03)