Centro de inversiones de la FAO

EU to host sixth virtual Cocoa Talks

Mobilizing development cooperation and financing for sustainable cocoa

The European Union’s sixth virtual Cocoa Talks will look at how to mobilize development cooperation and finance for a more sustainable and inclusive cocoa sector.  

These talks, launched in late 2020, have brought together representatives from EU member states, cocoa producing countries, industry and civil society organizations to advance the cocoa sustainability and equity agenda.

This latest webinar will look at ways to innovate and step up cooperation – from policy dialogue, public sector reform and private sector investments to technical assistance and capacity building – with various actors along the cocoa supply chains. 

Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are the world’s largest exporters of cocoa. Together with Cameroon their combined exports account for nearly two-thirds of global exports, with the EU among the top consumers.

Millions of small-scale farmers in the three producing countries rely on cocoa for their livelihoods. Yet many still live below the poverty line.

These Cocoa Talks, along with the EU’s EUR 25 million Sustainable Cocoa Initiative, are pushing for progress on ensuring a living income for cocoa farmers, protecting and restoring forests in cocoa-producing regions and eliminating child labour.  

Strategic cocoa studies carried out by the FAO Investment Centre in 2020 through its AgrIntel Facility with the EU helped launch the initiative and talks.

FAO Investment Centre Director Mohamed Manssouri pointed to the importance of building a dynamic and sustainable cocoa sector that promotes inclusive growth.  

“We need to make sure the sector works not only for the consumer with good quality products but also for the millions of cocoa producers and their families, for the different actors along the cocoa supply chains and ultimately for the environment,” he said. 

He added that FAO has much to offer in supporting member countries, the EU and other partners via the initiative – from policy support, knowledge and innovations, including innovative financing mechanisms, to good practices for sustainable production and intensification, youth in agriculture and livelihood diversification.  

Economic, social and environmental sustainability

Insufficient incomes from cocoa farming, inequities surrounding land ownership, especially for women, climate change, cocoa diseases, deforestation and child labour are among the challenges facing the cocoa sector.

In 2020, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana decided to charge a USD 400 per tonne premium on cocoa exports and pass that money on to farmers – a Living Income Differential.

The Sustainable Cocoa Initiative will build on the Living Income Differential. FAO and partners will provide technical assistance, training and capacity building to governments, producers, cooperatives, the local private sector and other value chain actors to improve the long-term economic, social and environmental sustainability of the cocoa sectors in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. 

It will look to advance consensus between producing countries, industry representatives, small-scale cocoa farmers and European consumers to link increases in cocoa farmers’ revenues to a clear commitment to halt deforestation and eliminate child labour. 

The initiative will also build on FAO’s ongoing work on cocoa. This includes technical assistance to large-scale investment projects like the World Bank-financed value chain development projects in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, and an FAO designed, Green Climate Fund financed project promoting zero-deforestation cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire, as well as analytical studies with research centres and other partners. 

Next steps

This latest round of Cocoa Talks comes on the heels of  ongoing strategic dialogue between the European Commission and FAO – a process that allows the two partners to agree on joint priorities for the years to come.  Last week’s dialogue on sustainable agri-food value chains investments and policies also featured the EU’s work with FAO in support to agri-food systems, including global value chains such as cocoa.

The next Cocoa Talks in June will focus on EU consumers and sustainable cocoa products.

A high-level event later this year will share the conclusions from all of the Cocoa Talks to help create a shared vision and shore up commitments for a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable cocoa sector.