Sustainability

Mars welcomes minimum price guarantee for cocoa farmers in West Africa

By Anthony Myers contact

- Last updated on GMT

 Mars said it remains committed to working with others to create a sustainable cocoa supply chain in-line with its Cocoa for Generations strategy. Pic: Mars Wrigley
Mars said it remains committed to working with others to create a sustainable cocoa supply chain in-line with its Cocoa for Generations strategy. Pic: Mars Wrigley

Related tags: Mars wrigley confectionery, Cocoa, coronavirus

Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, the world’s largest cocoa producers, have hiked up their minimum price guarantee given to farmers by 21% for the 2020-2021 growing season that starts in October, and has support of major chocolate companies including Mars Wrigley.

The announcement was made in Cote d’Ivoire by President Alassane Ouattara at the start of an annual trade fair for the cocoa industry. "We have decided to increase the price from 825 to 1,000 CFA francs (from $1.48 to $1.79) a kilo​," he told famers in Yamoussoukro, the country’s capital.

Neighbouring Ghana also increased its minimum price guarantee by the same amount to its farmers earlier this month as part of a joint Living Income Differential (LID) introduced by the two countries to help fight famer poverty.

The move by the two governments has the support of the major chocolate suppliers and manufacturers, including Mars Wrigley, which was the first to support LID.

Mars spokesperson Michelle O’Neill told ConfectioneryNews: “Mars believes boosting the income of cocoa farmers while ensuring cocoa is grown sustainably is key to a thriving cocoa sector. We will only achieve our aim of ensuring 100% of our cocoa is responsibly sourced and traceable by 2025 if the most vulnerable people in our supply chain are rewarded fairly. We support all efforts by the governments of Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and other cocoa producing countries toward achieving a sustainable increase paid to farmers. Backed by a transparent process that ensures the additional income reaches farmers, and governance to ensure no further expansion of land to grow cocoa, the LID will help address the income challenge faced by farmers.”

Cocoa for Generations

Mars Wrigley also said it remains committed to working with others to create a sustainable cocoa supply chain in line with its Cocoa for Generations strategy, and will continue implementing its own initiatives to protect children, preserve forests, and boost farmer income, while supporting efforts of others working to do the same.

The International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) estimates Cote d’Ivoire’s 2020-21 harvest is likely to be the same as in 2019-21, at approximately 2.1 million tonnes.

Cocoa accounts for between 10% and 15% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) and nearly 40% of its export revenue, according to the World Bank.

In response to criticism from some West African farmers that the LID is not enough, Mars said it is committed to finding new ways to ensure smallholder farmers receive a higher and fair price for their product and that “nothing will fundamentally change until we lift communities out of poverty​”.

Mars also said it continues to support these government interventions to increase farmer income and the company is “absolutely committed to both buy its cocoa with the LID and to invest in already established sustainability projects​”.

COVID-19

The confectionery giant also told ConfectioneryNews that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mars’ first priority has been to protect famers and farming communities by limiting farmers’ potential exposure to the virus and has been working to ensure the safety and well-being of its associates, suppliers, cocoa farmers, their families, and communities, by doing everything possible to prevent the spread of the virus.

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