The International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) has made the payment of fair and decent remuneration for cocoa farmers a top priority of the organisation to be achieved within the next few years, in all major cocoa producing countries, including Ghana.
The Executive Director of ICCO, Mr. Michel Arrion, said he will ensure that cocoa farmers receive remunerative prices for their produce. This, according to him, will result in a more equitable distribution of the revenue which accrues from the cocoa trade.
‘My priority is to ensure that cocoa farmers all over the world get decent prices for their produce’, he stated.
Mr. Michel Arrion, who took over as head of the ICCO from Dr. Jean Marc Angah in October 2018, made the disclosure when he conferred with Management of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) in Accra, on 14 January 2019, as part of his official duty tour of cocoa producing countries in Africa.
Mr. Arrion lauded Ghana for being the world’s second-best producer of cocoa and the strides the country is making in ensuring sustainable cocoa production. He promised his administration’s commitment to collaborate with all producing countries to chart a common agenda and strategy and advance programmes that will promote ethical practices to preserve as well as protect the environment and eco-system.
Mr. Arrion hinted that he would soon be outdooring a 5-Year Strategic Action Plan in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, in line with his vision to address the challenges affecting the world cocoa economy. To check price volatility, the ICCO Boss said there is the need to synchronize the activities of all producing countries for the collective interest of all producers and farmers.
Hon. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive of COCOBOD responding to the issues raised by Mr. Arrion said COCOBOD had made significant progress in sustainable cocoa production, sustainable domestic consumption, and forest preservation. Hon. Aidoo promised his Management’s commitment to work closely with the ICCO to address, especially, the continuous fall in the world price of cocoa.
According to him, although farm productivity is rising due to the combined effects of the Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEPs) implemented by the Board, the cocoa farmers are yet to benefit enormously to enhance their livelihoods.
‘Cocoa farmers who adopted our productivity enhancement initiatives have recorded higher yields but the falling world price of cocoa is still a matter of concern,’ he said, adding that, a quick implementation of plans by the international organisation, in collaboration with cocoa producing countries, to promptly stop the fall of prices is very crucial to the world cocoa trade.
Mr. Michel Arrion who was made Executive Director of the ICCO last year brings to the ICCO, 30 years of professional experience in Africa. He is looking forward to the opportunity to use his experience and knowledge of the cocoa sector to work with various stakeholders to address the challenges facing the sector.