Farmers Drying their cocoa beans in the Eastern Region

Social sustainability of Cocoa production is at the heart of the first virtual thematic roundtable organised in the framework of the National Dialogue on Sustainable Cocoa on Thursday 15 April 2021.

The National Dialogue was launched last March by the Delegation of the European Union and COCOBOD with more than 150 participants, clearly confirming the high interest around sustainability matters.

The cocoa value chain entails particular risks relating to child labour. The EU and the Government of Ghana recognise the importance of tackling root causes of child labour and promote several complementary actions to increase farmers’ revenue, strengthen social protection services and increase access to education and health services. However, today’s roundtable will particularly focus on how traceability, transparency and accountability can be further enhanced to support a cocoa supply chain that is free of child labour.

Representatives of a large spectrum of stakeholders involved in the cocoa sector – government officials, civil society organisations, trade unions, farmers’ organizations, private sector representatives and development partners – will share experiences and lessons learnt around traceability as a mechanism to identify, detect, monitor, prevent and remedy child labour.

The event is the first of a series of three thematic roundtables that will be organised in the country in the next two months, aiming at delivering concrete recommendations to advance sustainability – social, economic and environmental – across the cocoa supply chain. This national multi-stakeholder process will finally feed into the broader dialogue launched last year by the European Commission together with Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.

Ghana is the world’s second cocoa producer and the EU is the world’s first importer of cocoa. The EU imports roughly half of Ghana’s cocoa exports and it is the main market for Ghanaian processed cocoa products, such as paste or butter.

EU Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Diana Acconcia: “We believe that a commonly agreed traceability system is essential to guarantee to all actors that Ghanaian cocoa is socially and environmentally sustainable. We understand that child labour is a very complex issue and the EU is ready to support more than ever countries’ efforts to end child labour”.

As stated by the Chief Executive of the COCOCBOD, Hon. J. B. Aidoo: “It is imperative to holistically address the challenges of sustainability in the cocoa value chain, paying equal attention to farmer income as well as social and environmental concerns. An economical independent farmer is better placed to ensure the sustainability of the value chain which Ghana is committed to”.

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