The talks took place in the capital Accra as neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire, the world’s top cocoa producer, appealed to the EU for flexibility as the country prepares to comply with the bloc’s proposed sustainability legislation, which could threaten its cocoa exports.
As initially reported on Bloomberg, the EU measures, set to be introduced later this year, aim to protect forests, curb child labour and end farmer poverty. The bloc “needs to be flexible in its enforcement,” said Yves Kone, managing director of Le Conseil du Cafe-Cacao (CCC), the country’s cocoa regulator.
In Ghana, The National Dialogue on Sustainable Cocoa was launched in March 2021 by EU and COCOBOD, Ghana’s cocoa regulator. “The first two online events attracted more than 150 participants each, confirming the high interest around sustainability matters in Ghana,” the EU said in a release.
Speaking to Ghana’s News Agency (GNA), Ambassador to Ghana, Diana Acconcia said the country can tackle climate change and biodiversity loss while ensuring socio-economic transformation.
“The EU is committed to tackling the problem of global deforestation and forest degradation. Transparent traceability system is essential to guarantee to all actors of the value chain that Ghanaian cocoa is environmentally sustainable.”
Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive Officer at COCOCBOD, said: “COCOBOD, in partnership with the Forestry Commission, is currently working on a digital Cocoa Management System”.
He told GNA the system would map all cocoa farms, collect data on the profile of cocoa farmers, and ensure that Ghanaian cocoa can be traced from the farm.
The 27-nation EU buys almost 70% Cote d’Ivoire’s cocoa, but compliance with any new legislation may take time to implement, the CCC said.
“It will be a social issue for us to demand 15% of our farmers, who are in protected forests, to suddenly stop farming there,” Kone told local media. “If we take the necessary steps, in principle, we could plant and harvest again in three or four years, but it could take as long as five years to get everyone out.”
The CCC said another record crop is expected for the 2020-21 season as arrivals to ports already stand at 2.07 million tonnes since the beginning of October.