Fairtrade, an international agricultural empowerment organisation has called on the European Commission and European governments to commit to recognising living incomes in forthcoming human rights due diligence regulation for the European cocoa and chocolate sector.
The independent non-profit organisation representing 1.7 million small-scale farmers and workers globally made the call amid the announcement of a 25 percent reduction in the farm gate cocoa price recently implemented by the Ivorian government.
The implementation of the LID by Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, primary producers of two-thirds of the world’s cocoa, intended as an effort towards improving the living standard of smallholder cocoa farmers has however been affected by a backlog of unsold cocoa attributed to reduced demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with reports that some European investors had gone against the LID by reducing stocks or seeking out cheaper cocoa from other sources.
Jon Walker, Senior Advisor for Cocoa at Fairtrade International, noted that the LID is a powerful intervention by the Ivorian government that seeks to provide stability and improvement to livelihood of its farmers, which was supported by the European trade partners, adding that a living income commitment by chocolate-consuming countries would complement the Ivorian government’s efforts to stabilise the price of cocoa for farmers.
Walker further stressed that there needs to be a level playing field in the trading of the commodity and the human rights due diligence legislation under discussion in the European Union and member states provides an opportunity for the LID issue to be resolved.
‘The price that cocoa farmers earn is not the only element necessary for their families to reach a living income, but it is an essential one. Whether the European Commission addresses living income by directly recognising price or indirectly through the incorporation of living income in human rights due diligence, the subject must be addressed,’ Walker stated.