Calls for living income for West African cocoa farmers

Calls for living income for West African cocoa farmers
Shutterstock.com/ iprachenko

A recently released paper has called for a living income for cocoa farmers in West Africa.

Currently almost no cocoa farmers in the main cocoa production countries in West Africa are earning a living income, according to VOICE Network, a watchdog and catalyst for a reformed cocoa sector.

Without a living income for cocoa farmers, cocoa will never be sustainable, it said. If a farmer must choose between feeding his family, and not cutting down his old growth trees, it isn’t a choice.

Other challenges facing the sector – such as deforestation and child labour – will be impossible to tackle if farmers still live in poverty.

Several initiatives in the past year have started to communicate about desired cocoa price levels for farmers in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. The situation is not transparent, as each approach has a different methodology to calculate a living income and a different way to transfer additional money.

The watchdog believes that these living income price calculations so far have erred significantly on the low side.

In a paper released by the Cocoa Barometer Consortium, the watchdog explains why it thinks current living income reference prices are too low, and why farm gate prices for farmers should be higher still.