SUBSCRIBE

Breaking News on Confectionery & Biscuit Processing

News > Commodities

Read more breaking news

 

 
Interview with Rick Scobey, WCF president

Productivity alone won’t bring farmers above the poverty line: New WCF president

By Oliver Nieburg+

18-Oct-2016
Last updated on 18-Oct-2016 at 13:02 GMT2016-10-18T13:02:23Z

New WCF president highlights four key threats to the cocoa supply chain. Photo: WCF
New WCF president highlights four key threats to the cocoa supply chain. Photo: WCF
Loading the player...

Yield increases must be coupled with agricultural reforms in origin countries and stronger financing packages to bring cocoa farmers out of poverty, according to the World Cocoa Foundation’s new president.

Richard Scobey, who joined the industry organization as its president this July following a career at the World Bank, spoke to ConfectioneryNews ahead of WCF’s partnership meeting next week in Abjian, Côte D’Ivoire, from October 26 to 27.

Agri reforms and crop diversification

In his new role, Scobey said he would bring a stronger focus on policy and analysis.

“I believe that the productivity action of CocoaAction and WCF is critical to boost farmer yields and farmer income.

“But the productivity increases alone are not going to be enough to raise cocoa farmers above the poverty line.”

Richard Scobey joined the World Cocoa Foundation in July after working with the World Bank since 1986. Photo: WCF

He said he hoped to partner with cocoa origin governments and financial institutions like the World Bank on agricultural policy reforms to promote crop diversification and other income generating activities.

NGOs and financing packages

The WCF president also said he plans to work closely with civil society organizations such as the VOICE Network.

He added: “One of the biggest challenges of scaling up sustainability in the cocoa sector is the need for significant additional medium-term financing to help farmers with the planting and rehabilitation of their farms…”

He said he would look to strengthen ties with the public sector and international financial organizations such as the African Development Bank to develop a financing platform for farmers.

Scobey has identified four main challenges facing the cocoa supply chain:

  • Sustainable livelihoods for farmers
  • Climate change and deforestation
  • Child labor
  • Swollen shoot virus

World Bank’s poverty definition

Medium-term financing packages needed to help farmers rehabilitate farms, says new WCF president. Photo: WCF

“The first is the need for stronger sustainable livelihoods of cocoa farmers. We have many of the six million global farmers in cocoa living below the poverty reduction line,” he said.

The new WCF chief said the goal would be to achieve farmer income of at least $1.25 a day, the World Bank’s poverty line.

Deforestation in Côte d’Ivoire

“The second challenge is clearly climate change and deforestation,” he continued.

He highlighted encroachment on protected forested areas from cocoa plantations in Côte d’Ivoire, the main cocoa growing nation.

A recent peer-reviewed study found three-quarters of land in 23 protected areas surveyed in Côte d’Ivoire, the world’s premier cocoa grower, had been transformed for cocoa production and found a positive correlation between cocoa farming and the absence of primate species.

Eliminating the worst forms of child labor

Scobey said: “The third challenge is clearly to accelerate progress in child labor….more work needs to be done to ensure elimination of the worst forms of child labor in cocoa production.”

An estimated 2.03m children were working in hazardous work – a proxy for the worst forms of child labor – during the 2013/14 cocoa season, up 18% from 2008/09, according to a report published last year by Tulane University.

“The fourth and final challenges relates to the spread of the cocoa swollen shoot virus in West Africa, which is really damaging significant swathes of the crop.”

Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) has the potential to devastate production and farmer income, according to academic research.  The current method to treat the disease is to cut out the infected tree. 

Scobey called for a consolidated effort from industry, governments and the scientific community to develop an action plan to eradicate the virus.

Related products

Related suppliers

Fairtrade to review cocoa premium against farmer income study

Fairtrade to review cocoa premium against farmer income study

Fairtrade International plans next year to review its minimum price and premium for certified...

FiE 2015: Our best bits

FiE 2015: Our best bits

Our teams of journalists were out in force at Food Ingredients Europe (FiE) last...

KitKat white space opportunities in China, Vietnam and Pakistan

KitKat white space opportunities in China, Vietnam and Pakistan, says Nestlé countlines chief

Stewart Dryburgh

Global head of KitKat and chocolate countlines, Nestlé

Malaysia to double palm oil production by 2020

Malaysia hopes to double palm oil production by 2020

Kalanithi Nesaretnam

Minister, Embassy of Malaysia in Brussels

Sollich talks chocolate: Africa catch-up, Asia and South America boom

Sollich talks chocolate: Africa plays catch-up, Asia and South America boom

Africa’s chocolate market remains a little behind but Asia and South America are booming,...

Snacks and candy blur: NPD and retail fueling, says NCA

Is that a snack or a candy? ‘It’s so blurred now’, says NCA president

Snacks and confectionery have truly blurred from a product perspective and retail slant, says...

Candy innovation: Miniature, flavors but little on health, Euromonitor

Sweet innovation? Candy makers are sticking to what they know, says Euromonitor

For the most part, confectioners have continued to innovate in known areas like flavor,...

Cocoa flavanol health claim milk drinks 'could soon be on the market': Barry Callebaut

Cocoa flavanol health claim milk drinks 'could soon be on the market': Barry Callebaut

Ieme Blondeel

Product and Process Development Engineer, Barry Callebaut

Sports-themed confectionery tins popular with consumers

Sports-themed confectionery tins popular with consumers

Robert Toporowski

Project Manager, OEX Cursor

Confectionery e-commerce strategies shouldn’t be put on hold

E-tail-volution: Why confectionery e-commerce strategies shouldn’t be put on hold

Confectioners need to act fast in developing e-commerce strategies because even though online retail...

Elephant-shaped gum: Wacker highlights 3D printer capabilities

Elephant-shaped gum: Wacker highlights 3D printer capabilities

Dr Martin Seizl,

Director, Gum, , Wacker

3D-printed candy selfies coming to theme parks

3D-printed candy selfies coming to theme parks

Melissa Snover

Managing Director, Magic Candy Factory

Andreas Kopp creates replica tin for Nestlé milk powder

Andreas Kopp creates replica tin for Nestlé milk powder 150th anniversary

Monica Malonni-Kopp

General manager, Andreas Kopp

Baker Perkins ServoForm Mini makes 3D lollipops

Baker Perkins ServoForm Mini makes 3D lollipops

Dave Symonds

Area sales manager, Baker Perkins

Key Industry Events

 

Access all events listing

Our events, Shows & Conferences...