The International Conference on Cocoa Pricing and Stability, an initiative born out of the collaborative effort on EcoCare Ghana, Taylor Crabbe and ClientEarth, was held on the 10th and 11th November at the AH Hotel, Accra, Ghana. This conference was funded through the United Kingdom Department for International Development’s Forest Governance, Markets and Climate (FGMC) Programme and received support from TaylorCrabbe Innitiative, Ghana Civil Society- Cocoa Platform (GCCP) and Fern. The focus of the conference was on “Securing Equitable Living Income for Cocoa Farmers” especially those in Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire.
To set the context surrounding the regulation of cocoa in Ghana, Mr Clement Kojo Akapame, a partner at TaylorCrabbe Innitiative, begun the conference with a presentation on “Regulating Responsible Trade in Forest Risk Commodities- The Case of Cocoa in Ghana”.
In a brief, interesting and engaging session, he set out the key regulators of the cocoa industry in Ghana including COCOBOD and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture with details to the work that they do. He also set out the existing legal framework for the regulation of cocoa, starting from laws passed after independence to the very recent amendment of the Ghana Cocoa Board Act, 1984 (PNDCL 81).
The presentation focused on the damaging effects of the cocoa industry in Ghana, viz, unparalleled deforestation and the use of child labour to produce cocoa beans. These practices are still ongoing despite government efforts to halt them through policies such as the Cocoa and Forests Initiative’s “Joint Framework for Action” and the Child and Family Welfare Policy respectively.
Mr. Akapame was of the opinion that trade in cocoa could be undertaken in a manner that will prevent these negative practices from going on. Accordingly, consumer countries due diligence requirements, financial market and corporate governance structures, producer and consumer countries joint initiatives, producer countries national systems could collectively lead to an end of these practices and safeguard the future of the environment and our children.
In an interview with Citi Business News after the presentation, Mr. Akapame expressed a strong opinion for the amendment of the Economic Plants Protection Act, 1979 (AFRCD 47) to include sheer trees.
He said this should be done in order to protect shea trees from indiscriminate felling.
The Conference was a massive success on both days and helped facilitate discussions among stakeholders in cocoa production in Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire.