An agricultural expert on Friday hailed the decision by Ghana and its Western Neighbors, La Cote d’Ivoire to collaborate on various issues relating to cocoa production and marketing.
Secretary General for the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Edward Kareweh, described the decision as the turning point for cocoa pricing globally.
Officials from both sides met on Monday and Tuesday to adopt a comprehensive implementation plan and firm up details of the specific actions with a governance structure for achieving the vision of the two countries.
“This is a deal that has political, economic and social significance for the sub-region of West Africa. It is in the spirit of integration of the sub-regional bloc (Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and it is in the spirit of unity and good neighborliness,” Kareweh observed in an interview with Xinhua.
Rather than collaborating with each other the two countries, Kareweh stated had for over the years been seen as competitors in the world market of cocoa which affected them negatively.
“The two countries must not be seen as competitors, “he stressed, adding that the whole issue of low pricing of the commodity which was decided by buyers had affected the economies of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire negatively.
With the current arrangement, the agriculture advocacy expert expressed optimism that the two countries which account for more than 60 percent of global cocoa output would be able to create the necessary synergy not only in production and crop protection but also in pricing.
Kareweh expects the two to learn from each other as Ghana produces the highest premium cocoa while their western neighbor also keeps increasing yield annually.
At the end of the day he expected farmers to be the biggest gainers from this collaboration.
In the 12-point agreement the two countries a decided here on Tuesday to conduct a study to determine the floor price of cocoa, while constituting a joint committee for the promotion of cocoa consumption in both countries and across the West African sub-region.
They also agreed to work further towards the adoption of strategies for the implementation of the International Standard Organization (ISO) sustainable and traceable cocoa standard.
While agreeing to have a common opening of cocoa season and announcement of producer prices Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire also agreed to forge a closer collaboration between their respective training and research institutions.
On Climate Change mitigation; preventing Child Labor in cocoa; strategy to restore cocoa landscapes; coordination of private sector initiatives in the industry; cutting of diseased trees; and data collection the two agreed to collaborate.