The governments of the Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana have agreed to create national sector-wide cocoa traceability systems as part of a new sustainability alliance with the EU.
The European Commission (EC) said as part of the Alliance on Sustainable Cocoa, systems will ensure all cocoa can be traced from the plot level and traceability data will be publicly available to all stakeholders.
The alliance will act as a roadmap to improve the economic, social and environmental sustainability of cocoa production and trade, said the EC.
“Following two years of discussions, all sides have committed to a set of concrete time-bound actions to improve the sustainability of the cocoa supply chain in West Africa,” it said.
“These actions aim to halt deforestation and child labour, and improve the living income for farmers. These commitments were endorsed by all and will be closely monitored.”
The EU is the world's largest importer of cocoa and says it has a responsibility to ensure that the chocolate and cocoa it consumes is sustainably produced.
Alex Assanvo, executive secretary of the Côte d'Ivoire Ghana Cocoa Initiative, said: “With joint agreement on the critical need to rebalance value chains, the Alliance for Sustainable Cocoa offers us a timely opportunity to act together to strengthen the economic dimension of sustainable cocoa value chains and deliver to farmers a price fully aligned with a living income.”
The alliance aims to help producing countries and the cocoa sector prepare for the implementation of the forthcoming EU sustainability legislation to prevent deforestation.
And members have committed to implementing traceability systems which allow them to connect incidents of child labour to individual cocoa consignments and plots.
“National cocoa traceability systems have improved in coverage, accuracy, reliability, and transparency with EU support,” said a report accompanying the creation of the alliance.
Along with Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana are the major suppliers of cocoa into the EU market -- supplying €4.6bn of the crop in 2021.
The EU and the European Investment Bank have planned contributions of over €200m to Côte d'Ivoire and €12m to Ghana.
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