WEST AFRICA – Cocoa-producing countries in West African have recently launched efforts to improve their bargaining position in the chocolate industry. However, for farmers – who are the end of the bargaining chain – the government proposed price increase per kilo of beans is not sufficient to support a decent livelihood.
This is the story of farmers in West Africa, particularly in Ivory Coast, which is the world’s leading cocoa producer, by supplying 40% of the world’s cocoa. More than half of Ivorian producers live below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.
There is a number of reasons for this including change in climate, deteriorating soil quality but notably, low prices due to the forces of demand and supply dictated by wealthy foreign markets.
The chocolate sector is also accused of worsening the situation of poor farmers by shackling them with heavy debts in the name of initiatives aimed at alleviating poverty.