TaylorCrabbe Innitiative (TCi) participated in the 2nd Edition of the Cocoa Legal Clinic organised by EcoCare Ghana in partnership with Client Earth on Thursday, 14th October 2021. The clinic forms part of the Cocoa Governance and Advocacy Project geared towards capacity building in the cocoa sector to enhance decision-making through an effective multi-stakeholder process.
The legal training and capacity building session facilitated by TCi focused on germane issues affecting cocoa production. The presentation gave stakeholders insight into some of the hurdles to be addressed by producer countries of forest risk commodities (FRCs) considering the imminent new EU standards for sourcing commodities in the coming years.
The three-part presentation considered concerns in the sector pertaining to cocoa beans price, environmental degradation, and human rights specifically, child labour. These were delivered by Clement Akapame, Dennis Martey, and Albert Agyepong respectively.
The presentation on Price brought to light the wide disparity between cocoa bean prices on the international market and farmer revenue, and the Production Price Review Committee’s determination of annual prices leaving no room for negotiations by farmers. The presentation provided made some recommendations to help address the challenge. These include export price regimes which are in line with the World Trade Organization’s trading rules and also promote equity and sustainable production.
On the environmental concerns, the presentations revealed that the cocoa forest landscapes (CFL) have one of the highest rates of deforestation at approximately 3.2% per annum. Also, until about 2017, national policies were directed exclusively aimed at production to the neglect of sustainability, and this was not ideal for the environment. A reformation of Land tenure, tree tenure, enhanced monitoring through Community Based Natural Resource Management were suggested as a possible intervention for this challenge.
Lastly, the human rights concern which was of major importance to the clinic showed that albeit recent statistics showing that child labour remains rife in Ghana’s cocoa sector, cocoa farming is labour intensive here. It is therefore common for the farmer’s family to be involved in the process to reduce labour costs. Legislative interventions, awareness creation and public education to change social norms could help solve the problem.
Other presentations that were delivered during the clinic touched on the UK Deforestation bill, presented by Raphaelle Godts of ClientEarth. Finally, Julia Christian also made a presentation on the status of the EU due diligence regulations and the implications on the cocoa sector.
The Cocoa Clinic was well attended by farmers, Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organisations in the cocoa sector and other stakeholders.