Côte d'Ivoire, world champion in cocoa: what's the point?

Farmers work on a cocoa plantation near Sinfra, Côte d'Ivoire.

© ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

By: Jean-Pierre Boris Follow

3 min

Côte d'Ivoire has been the world's largest producer of cocoa beans for several decades.

It alone supplies 40% of the cocoa needs of the food sector industries.

But this production seems to be done more and more at the expense of the peasant population and the environmental situation of the country.

Publicity

At the beginning of May 2021,

the World Cocoa Foundation

,

 a foundation bringing together large multinational cocoa companies issued a press release.

They welcome the progress made in the fight against deforestation caused by cocoa cultivation in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana.

These two countries are not chosen at random.

Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana are the two main cocoa producers in the world.

When a consumer, anywhere on the planet, tastes a piece of chocolate or a chocolate product, it is very likely that he consumes a little powder or cocoa butter from which the original bean comes from. one of these two West African countries.

But then, you say to yourself, if Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana occupy such an important place, they must be the kings of cocoa;

and the planters, the peasants live comfortably.

Well, not at all !

Most of them even live below the poverty line defined by the World Bank.

However, efforts are being made by companies and governments.

Many people are agitated to improve the income of the peasants.

In particular in Côte d'Ivoire.

But apparently that doesn't change anything.

Why ?

Are these efforts just a shambles?

And if it is in this regard, what to think of the declarations of victory in the fight against deforestation that I mentioned a moment ago?

And if cocoa production is causing so much harm, is it worth the risk?

These are some of the questions that will be asked of the two guests of this show.

 - Michel Arrion, a

 career Belgian diplomat, is the Director General of

the International Cocoa Organization

, headquartered in Abidjan. 

- François Ruf

 is an economist at

CIRAD

, the Center for International Cooperation in Agronomic Research for Development, a French organization on behalf of which he has traveled, for several decades, the main cocoa production areas, from Indonesia to the Coast d'Ivoire where he now lives.

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  • Africa

  • Economy Africa

  • Ivory Coast

  • Agriculture and Fishing

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