RPT-EXCLUSIVE-Pact To Aid Poor Cocoa Farmers In Peril As COVID-19 Hits Demand


The steepest dive in cocoa demand in a decade has thrown into jeopardy a plan by top producers Ivory Coast and Ghana to guarantee some two million farmers a living wage, sources within the countries’ regulators said.

Leading chocolate-makers agreed to a proposal from the African nations last year to charge the industry a premium for cocoa beans and guarantee a minimum income to farmers who earn just $1 a day.

But the scheme, set to come into effect this October, was based on expectations that international cocoa prices would stay within average ranges. Instead, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on demand has driven them to their lowest in nearly two years and they are expected to stay weak for at least a year, the industry says.

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