A coalition of NGOs published a key report on the cocoa sector on April 19, 2018: the Cocoa Barometer. The Barometer is focused on Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, the world’s largest cocoa exporters.

The Rainforest Alliance and UTZ program welcome the report, which highlights that efforts to address poverty and unsustainable practices in the cocoa sector are falling short.

The challenge is especially acute in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, where many farmers live below the poverty line, often using child labor.

The Barometer highlights that global cocoa market price fluctuations – most recently the steep decline between September 2016 and February 2017 – cause price shocks especially dramatic for smallholder cocoa farmers, in particular in Côte d’Ivoire where income from cocoa declined by as much as 30% – 40% in that period.

A clear takeaway from the Barometer is that there is a need for higher and more stable farmgate prices to allow farmers to earn a living income. Another is that the challenges facing the cocoa sector deal with power and political economy, and are not just ‘technical’.

Regardless, several measures are needed to increase farmers’ resilience against shocks such as major prices fluctuations and climate impacts, including:

  • More capacity of farmers to advocate for their needs,
  • More capacity of farmers to diversify income sources,
  • More aligned and more ambitious sector-wide collaboration.

These are key aspects for our work in the cocoa sector.

We welcome the Barometer’s mention that UTZ and the Rainforest Alliance have just merged and that a new standard will be published in 2019, and the acknowledgment that the merger “is an opportunity to develop instruments and new approaches to make a living income for certified farmers a reality.“

We take the report and its recommendations very seriously.

As part of the development of our new standard, we will start a far-reaching consultation process with all our stakeholder groups later this year. If you would like to stay informed on the progress of our new certification program, please sign up here