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Côte d'Ivoire

Euro MPs back action on cocoa prices

As production costs escalate, Ghanaian and Ivorian officials are lobbying the EU to raise prices for cocoa bean exports

As Africa's cocoa producers face growing financial pressures, they have won backing from European Union MPs to open talks on a price pact as part of wider discussions on sustainability and human rights issues.

The EU's negotiations on an Economic Pact for Sustainable Cocoa started several years ago but are yet to reach a conclusion.

MEPs on the European Parliament's Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) group wrote to the EU executive urging it to widen the scope of the cocoa talks along with environmental sustainability and human rights criteria.

Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire produce over 65% of world cocoa output, and most of the highest quality beans. But farmers have suffered a prolonged period of low prices (AC Vol 60 No 12, Cocoanomics).

This is now compounded by the higher cost of inputs such as fertiliser. Both governments are navigating financial pressures, worsened by the international pressure on food and fuel prices.

Visiting Brussels in February, Ivorian and Ghanaian officials urged EU officials to look at minimum price levels for their cocoa exports. They want to include pricing in wider negotiations with the EU on proposals to promote production that doesn't involve deforestation and meets other sustainability criteria.

Cocoa and chocolate production falls within the scope of a new EU law on human rights due diligence tabled by the Commission in February. MEPs argue that minimum price levels should also form part of the EU's agenda.

'The Economic Pact provides an opportunity to reach an agreement with the producer countries on the key issue of price, as well as sustainability issues, and to obtain a concrete outcome of the Cocoa Talks,' the RBC letter states.

The RBC group, which has cross-party support, is one of the more influential lobbies in the European Parliament.

It drove the campaign for the Commission to tighten up on corporate social responsibility rules aiming to hold businesses accountable for human rights abuse and environmental harm in their supply chains.

 



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