CAOBISCO members work together and in partnership with other stakeholders throughout the cocoa supply chain to ensure that cocoa is sourced and products are manufactured in a responsible manner from an economic, environmental and social point of view
70% of world cocoa is grown in West Africa (mainly Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana) by more than 2 million small farmers for whom cocoa accounts for more than 50% of household income. Through the many industry projects, collective and individual, and collaboration with cocoa producing country governments and relevant partner organisations we have identified the complex challenges faced by cocoa farmers:
• Cocoa trees are vulnerable to pests and diseases which can ruin cocoa crops.
• The limited availability of improved seeds or planting material means that farmers are harvesting from trees that are old and produce low yields.
• Limited knowledge or availability of more efficient farming techniques also reduces crop yields and incomes.
• Soil conditions are deteriorating and there is no tolerance for cutting down additional forests.
• Youth is not interested or attracted to cocoa farming.
• In most cases chocolate producers do not buy their cocoa directly from the farmers but from a complex system of intermediaries that purchases and transports the cocoa from the farm to the port.
• Lack of organization among groups of farmers limits their ability to purchase supplies at a lower cost, access helpful market information or secure a better price for their cocoa.
• Health and social issues impact the cocoa farming community, notably a lack of access to education for children on cocoa farms, HIV/AIDS, malaria and poor quality drinking water.
• Younger family members are involved in farming tasks. It is an ancestral tradition, a first step in transitioning responsibility for the family farm and a precious help for these families who live in difficult situation. However this is a challenge as well. Various surveys, notably commissioned by the governments of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, found that too many children leave school to work on the family farm and are put in danger due to unsafe farming tasks.
The challenges are complex and need a holistic approach and a long-term engagement of all stakeholders.