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GCCP Seeks EU Funding for Cocoa Industry Sustainability

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The Ghana Civil Society Cocoa Platform (GCCP), an independent body formed by civil society organizations to impact Ghana’s cocoa sector through advocacy and strategic partnerships, has held its 2024 Annual General Meeting in Accra, with a call on European Union to financially support the necessary transformations for achieving sustainability in the cocoa industry.

The 2024 Annual General Meeting brought together farmers, regulators, and NGOs working within the cocoa value chain in Ghana.

Policy

Nana Kwasi Barning Ackah, Coordinator, of Ghana Civil Society Cocoa Platform (GCCP) highlighted the critical need for the European Union to invest financially in the implementation of the Regulation on Deforestation Free Products (EUDR) in the cocoa sector.

He said the time has come for action to reflect the will expressed by the European Union in the Brussels Declaration.

“When chocolate companies pay LID, the farmer would be in a better position to hire labourers to work on their farms and will adhere to all sustainability initiatives and also be in a better position to use appropriate technologies,” he said.

Dr. Albert Arhin, Consultant, Trust Africa Foundation explained that the timing is right for the industry to examine cocoa pricing mechanisms and their influence on cocoa farmers’ income in Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, and Sierra Leone.

“I believe that it’s time to have a deeper conversation about the involvement of farmers and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the cocoa pricing processes.

“Our research found that the implementation of the LID policy by Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana is a step towards addressing the poverty experienced by cocoa bean farmers; however, doubts have been raised about its effectiveness and sustainability and this is why Governments should ensure transparency in the farmgate price-setting process to build trust among chocolate manufacturers and farmers,” he said.

Regulator

Fifi Boafo, Head of Public Affairs at Ghana Cocoa Board said the Board has successfully completed work on the Cocoa Management System (CMS) which has seen the registration of almost 800,000 farmers as part of the Cocoa Traceability programme and is ready to implement EU Regulation on Deforestation-free Products (EUDR) in the cocoa sector.

He adds that more than sixty thousand hectares of farms that were affected by the deadly Swollen Shoot Virus Disease have been rehabilitated as part of their Productivity Enhancement Programmes, across the seven cocoa regions and also prepared to implement the African Regional Standards on sustainable cocoa.

“There are moves to come to some understanding with farmers on how best to preserve their cocoa farms and desist from giving them out for purposes other than cocoa production,” he noted.

Appreciation

The leaders of the farmer cooperatives expressed their excitement about the renewed relationship between COCOBOD and the GCCP and how the partnership will help educate farmers on innovations and interventions introduced by COCOBOD and the EU.

Siapha Kamara, Chief Executive Officer of SEND West Africa used the opportunity to thank members of the platform who were able to grace the two-day event adding that their valuable inputs made the AGM a success.

“Special thanks to Oxfam in Ghana, INKOTA-netzwerk, GIZ Ghana, TrustAfrica Foundation, and COCOBOD for their technical and financial support,” he said.

Story by: Nana Yaw Reuben

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