This funding strengthens the partnership between Team Europe (composed of the EU, its Member States, and European financial institutions) and cocoa-producing countries, and aims at ensuring a decent living income for farmers, halting deforestation and eliminating child labour.
The announcement follows the ongoing dialogue on sustainable cocoa, dubbed the ‘Cocoa Talks’, involving the EU and public and private stakeholders, along with selected representatives of the two main producing countries, Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana. The objective of this dialogue is to enhance cooperation and coordination to support sustainable cocoa production in the framework of the Living Income Differential (LID) initiative, launched by the two producer countries to ensure decent revenue to local farmers.
Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana boycotted last month’s World Cocoa Foundation Partnership Meeting in Brussels, where a group representing 80% of the industry met to discuss sustainability issues across the sector. As ConfectioneryNews reported, both countries told the WCF they would not attend because of pricing issues regarding their beans.
The new funding, announced last month by the EU, would boost the strategy by Cote d'Ivoire, the world’s top cocoa grower, to make production of the key chocolate ingredient more sustainable, according to Bloomberg. Switzerland is also contributing to the initiative.
The EU, which buys about 60% of the top producers’ cocoa, is planning new legislation that would compel exporters to ensure all their beans are certified as early as 2024 to prove the supply chain didn’t use child labour or cause deforestation. Less than 15% of Cote d'Ivoire’s cocoa and only approximately 12% of beans from Ghana, the world’s second largest cocoa producer, are certified, according to regulators.
Cocoa is a major contributor to export earnings, as well as the main source of livelihoods for almost seven million farmers in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana. Indirectly, cocoa contributes to the livelihoods of further 50 million people. At the same time, cocoa production entails particular risks relating to child labour, low revenues for local farmers, deforestation and forest degradation, according to the EU - the world's largest importer of cocoa, accounting for 60% of world imports.
Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People, said: “The EU trade agenda is underpinned by EU values. By investing in programmes to promote fair trade and sustainability in the cocoa sectors of Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Cameroon, we are strengthening our trade and investment relationships for our mutual benefit. Building the social and environmental aspects of the cocoa supply chain will deliver further economic benefits for local farmers and cooperatives.”