Industry unites to aid cocoa growers
plan to help 150,000 cocoa farming families in Ghana and the Ivory
Coast – protecting the supply chain and ensuring ethical practices
are in place.
The 'healthy communities' programme is designed to promote responsible labour practices, expand access to education and prevent malaria and HIV among grower communities African cocoa producing countries account for around 80 per cent of the bean's global exports and the worldwide chocolate market is worth $75 billion (€58.5bn) annually. But the profitability of the market does not trickle down to producers at the initial stage of production who occupy a weak bargaining position due to their reliance on the commodity. Ghana is the world's second largest cocoa producer and many manufacturers such as Barry Callebaut and have facilities based in the country. According to the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) the country's commercial crop in 2005/2006 reached a record high of 646,000 tonnes. Unrest has been a major factor in the Ivory Coast's cocoa market. Last October, growers calling for a higher price for beans and greater financial support staged a strike, blocking shipments and disrupting supply. The WCF have now put in place four main stages to improve conditions for cocoa farming families. The four key areas to be addressed are: improving economic return for farmers, improving community access to education, ensuring growing practices are carried out responsibly and protecting the environment in which crops are grown. This year, the Government of Ghana is to release its cocoa farming Certification report which will detail child and adult labour conditions and what methods can be put in place to improve practices. In addition, a new programme to help prevent malaria and HIV/AIDS has been introduced as part of the WCF scheme. In the Ivory Coast, malaria is the leading cause of death among children while the four cocoa producing regions in Ghana have the highest HIV/AIDS rate in the country.