Nigeria and Cameroon have expressed interest to join Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana in an alliance to improve the economic earnings of cocoa farmers in their respective countries.
Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are the two leading cocoa-producing countries in the world.
Nigeria and Cameroon joining Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire will create an alliance of countries, whose total cocoa production constitutes 75 per cent of the world’s supply.
The alliance dubbed, Côte d’Ivoire – Ghana Cocoa Initiative (CIGCI), being spearheaded by Ghana’s Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto is an effort of the two countries to ensure a better price and remuneration for cocoa farmers.
The initiative was set up following a declaration by the presidents of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to harmonise the cocoa trading strategies of the two countries to improve the incomes of cocoa farmers in the two countries in the wake of persistently low cocoa prices on the world market.
Briefing the Daily Graphic on the initiative, Dr Akoto explained that the initiative had so far instituted the Living Income Differential (LID), which ensured that every tonne of cocoa beans sold attracts an extra $400.00, which was paid to farmers.
The LID is the component of the cocoa trading mechanism operated by the two producer countries.
The minister expressed the belief that Nigeria and Cameroon joining the initiative would enhance the effort of the alliance in realising its objective.
“The desire of the two countries was expressed by their representatives at the Steering Committee of the CIGCI at a meeting in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
“The Nigerian delegation was led by the Director of the Federal Department of Agriculture and Chairman of Nigeria’s Cocoa Management Committee, A. H. Abubakar, while the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cameroon’s National Office of Cocoa and Coffee, Michael Ndoping, led the Cameroonian delegation,” Dr Akoto told the Daily Graphic.
Before handing the chairmanship of the Steering Committee of the CIGCI to his Ivorian counterpart, the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Kobenan Kouassi Adjoumani, Dr Akoto said he welcomed the move by Nigeria and Cameroon, saying “the CIGCI will take the prospective members through the processes laid down to admit new members”.
The minister indicated that the need for a better price for cocoa farmers could not be overemphasised; “hence, any attempt to grow the alliance and strengthen its drive to improve farmer income is welcome”.
On which country on the continent qualified to join, Dr Akoto said membership was opened to cocoa exporting countries.