Ghana’s fight for cocoa farmers backfires as EU hints of ban

Chief Executive officer of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo has called out the European Union, accusing it of double standards in its assessment of Ghana’s cocoa sector in recent times.

The European Union has threatened to ban cocoa from Ghana if the negative impact of illegal mining on the country’s environment persists.

Belgium which is a part of the EU however recently imported cocoa beans from China, which the CEO says is not blameless in terms of degradation.

On October 1, 2020, Ghana and Ivory Coast began receiving a Living Income Differential (LID) of four hundred United States dollars per ton of cocoa, which is an additional earning from the world market price for cocoa farmers.

The Living Income Differential is meant to guarantee some stability to the producer price of cocoa and sustainability of the industry in Ghana and Ivory Coast.

This happened after Ghanaian cocoa farmers had for many years been left at the bottom chain of the cocoa sector, despite the fact that Ghana and Ivory Coast together produce 65% of the worlds’ cocoa beans and yet had no say in its pricing.

Less than a year into the implementation of the living income differential in the fight for cocoa farmers the European Union has threatened to ban imports of Ghana’s cocoa beans on the basis of environmental and child labour issues

Joseph Boahen Aidoo however believes the sudden heightened interest and threats from the European Union on Ghana after the implementation of the LID are unfair as many European countries including China which recently exported to Belgium, a member of the EU, equally have their share in environmental and other issues which they are frowning upon.

“The issue with the European Union is about deforestation. There is an element of child labour also involved, and they are calling on us to do zero tolerance on child labour and zero tolerance on deforestation. EU is very determined to legislate a law on that. There are no two ways about it, and they are doing due diligence, engaging us to make an input to whatever law or regulation they are coming up with”.

Mr. Boahen Aidoo however bemoaned Beljiums recent import of cocoa beans from China which is also engaged in some form of deforestation and child labour.

“The only thing I am not happy about is that Europe is tolerating cocoa from China which is also being produced in a tropical forest. The farmers there cut the trees in the forest before planting the cocoa. When we cut our forestation, the EU says we are doing deforestation but when China does same it is not deforestation”, he stressed.

He added,” I’ve seen a video whereby a child is pushing a cocoa drying board on the island where China is producing its cocoa but somehow that is not child labour but in Ghana when a sixteen year old girl goes to fetch water from the riverside, it s considered as child labour”.

“You see the double standards we are talking about. Let’s be very frank and face our conventional consumers market, let’s face them squarely”.

“When you even take the issue of deforestation worse things are happening in Europe because a lot of the temperate forest has been cut, and they are using it to ranch cattle. It means they are growing grass and when you grow grass, the droppings of the cattle contains what you call methane and that has more than thirty times propensity to increase global warming than even carbon dioxide”.

“…It appears that Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire have been targeted that’s how I see it because nobody is talking about the other countries just Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.”

He however told Citi Business News, there must be intensified efforts to deal with the illegal mining menace in the country to safeguard the sector.

“As a nation, we have to take a stand on this and fight illegal mining together devoid of politics.”

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