Ivory Coast, accounting for more than 40 percent of world cocoa output, and Ghana, which accounts for about 20 percent, on Thursday agreed to better cooperate on pricing and combating child labor in the industry.
The two West Africa producers, Ivory Coast and Ghana, joined forces in 2019 to try to get more from the chocolate industry, obtaining a premium per tonne of cocoa.
But the coronavirus pandemic has hit global demand, and buyers are reluctant to see prices rise with a surplus in supplies.
Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchway said they had agreed to form a joint body to cooperate over research, price setting, and child labour.
“The two countries which produce about 60 percent of the world’s cocoa have coordinated on some of those issues before, but this new organization marks a formal step toward even more effective corporation,” she said.
The world’s chocolate market is estimated to be worth more than $100 billion, concentrated in a few multinational corporations.
Experts in Ivory Coast say that cocoa prices are still low, even with the so-called living income differential or LID supplement which the two countries negotiated with chocolate makers to help farmers.
More than half of the million people working in the sector live below the poverty line, earning less than $1.2 per day according to the World Bank.