Challenges of African cocoa production – Africa Panorama – Africa Panorama

Highly regarded by everyone, the production of cocoa, nicknamed brown gold, hides environmental and economic realities. In Africa, cocoa is produced mainly by West African countries. These are Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, which rank first and second respectively in world production. Then comes Nigeria, Cameroon and Ecuador. Together, these countries export more than 70% of the world’s cocoa production. However, they benefit from only 3% of the income. In fact, the production of brown gold is a major economic issue. According to a study conducted by the world, the undisputed queen of African cocoa production is Côte d’Ivoire, which provides 44% of the world supply, 54% of which is intended for the European market and 33% for the American market. Bank. ” Ghana’s production, the second largest in the world, meets more than 75% of American demand and more than 20% of European demand. In its report, the World Bank points out that about 20% of the GDP of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana comes from cocoa revenues.

The bitter taste of chocolate

As bitter as the taste of raw cacao is the truth that ” African producing countries receive only 3% of the income from the chocolate sector According to the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO). Ivory Coast earned a total of $3.3 billion against its production in 2017, compared to $22 billion for American producers. In addition, ” Of the 100 billion dollars generated by the chocolate industry in the world, producing countries earn only 6% of this amount, and small farmers in African countries earn only 2% of this culture. », again according to ICCO research. This situation arises because of the control exerted by multinational companies on the world cocoa market Samar Al-Baghuri, associate professor of economics at Cairo University and director of the Center for Nile Basin Studies, says. In fact, there are numerous factors preventing African cocoa-producing countries from taking advantage of this windfall. ” The export of African cocoa in its raw form is a major problem, as it reduces the ability of African countries to add value in this sector and consequently increase its selling price. “said Al-Baghuri.

In addition, deforestation and the use of child labor, practices banned by Western countries, are two other obstacles that prevent African countries from fully benefiting from this sector. ” More than 1.8 million African children work in the production of brown beans “says Al-Baghuri. Because cocoa production in Africa is carried out on small farms, and each farm is run by a family, with all members, including children, often taking on the most dangerous jobs, such as using machetes, carrying heavy loads, and pesticides. constant exposure. Deforestation is frowned upon by the main consumers of African cocoa, especially in times of global warming. To become one of the first cocoa producers, Côte d’Ivoire lost almost 90% of its forest area. Ghana has the same forest area According to the NGO’s research, a total of 14,000 hectares of forest have disappeared, which is equivalent to 15,000 football fields. The Mighty Earth.

And the misery doesn’t end there. ” Small African farmers, of course, still use traditional farming methods that require excessive use of pesticides, as opposed to the more sophisticated farming methods used by multinational corporations that make the bulk of their profits from this production. “said Al-Baghuri. Recently, the European Union announced its intention to stop all imports of cocoa harvested in the traditional way. Switzerland, the giant of chocolate production, announced its intention to buy cocoa from multinational companies that use the most modern and environmentally friendly methods.

Solutions

The implementation of such a decision will undoubtedly hurt African countries, especially small farmers. Al-Baghuri explains. In fact, brown gold-producing African countries are fully aware of the impact of this decision on their economies. Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana united to make their voices heard. It was on March 26, 2018 that Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara signed the Abidjan Declaration with his Ghanaian counterpart, Nana Akufo. OPEC » Cocoa. It has already fulfilled its first task in 2019 by creating a reward mechanism for small farmers. This policy paid off when the chocolate industry adopted a bonus principle of $400 per ton in all sales contracts; After the sale of these small growers’ production was stopped, world prices and subsequently the chocolate industry were greatly affected.

Realizing the importance of respecting the sustainability factor in their production, they began to become a more environmentally friendly production, avoiding deforestation and the use of pesticides. In addition, ” Ghana has launched an economic platform that brings together all data on smallholders and farmland to manage more sustainably. Al-Baghuri concludes his opinion.

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