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General News
African cocoa producers call for partnership 9/6/2007
Accra, Sept. 6, GNA - The Second Africa Cocoa Summit ended in Accra on Wednesday with the continent''s cocoa producers calling for the promotion of public/private sector partnership in the industry. In the Accra Declaration adopted by delegates, they resolved to engage their trading partners in negotiations with the view to eliminating stringent tariffs on finished/semi-finished cocoa products in order to improve market access.

They also resolved to examine the implications of the use of supply management and other market instruments with the view to achieving market equilibrium and remunerative prices.

The summit was attended by delegations from Ghana, Nigeria, Cote d''Ivoire, Togo, Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea.

The Accra Declaration called on members of the Cocoa Producers'' Alliance (COPAL) to encourage the harmonisation of international quality standards and procedures used to measure them, provide resources to build human and technological capacity for quality assurance, promote domestic consumption of cocoa and provide adequate funding for research. They also resolved to enhance downstream research and development for value addition to cocoa, strengthen international cooperation among African cocoa producers and encourage other African producers to join the COPAL.

President John Agyekum Kufuor, who opened the Summit on Wednesday, urged cocoa producing countries in Africa to implement policies that promote both, value addition and domestic consumption to maximize returns.

He said given the importance of the crop to their economies, they must adopt and implement the policy of value addition to boost returns and also promote consumption on the continent to help influence the pricing.

The Declaration also touched on the child labour, with delegates resolving to take measures to eliminate any cases of the worst forms of child labour from cocoa farms wherever they existed. "(We) resolve... to educate the international community on cocoa production in Africa to bring out the involvement of children in cocoa production practices in order to allay fears of the existence of the worst forms of child labour."

They also resolved to improve productivity through the planting of disease-resistant and high-yielding planting materials, including the adoption of appropriate technologies. The delegates resolved to promote intensification of production to ensure the judicious use of land for both cocoa and other crops leading to improved incomes for farmers and take measures to make cocoa farming more attractive, especially to the youth. The delegates noted that cocoa contributed significantly to the economies of most cocoa producing countries in Africa and the livelihood of a large proportion of its citizenry.

However, there had been the stagnation in productivity and losses in production capacity due to the spread of cocoa pests and diseases. World cocoa prices in real terms had also been on the decline over the last 10 years and the distribution of income among stakeholders in the world cocoa economy was inequitable.

Africa, which produced approximately 76 per cent of the total world cocoa output last year, processed only 14 per cent of its production and accounted for barely three per cent of the annual consumption. Europe, a non-cocoa producing continent, processed 42 per cent of the world''s total production.

Cocoa has been critical to the economies of West and Central African countries, providing employment for more than 50 per cent of the work force, and remains a major source of revenue for some economies. Productivity levels in many of the African countries are; however, lower than the rest of the world. While countries in Asia and America have yields above 800 kilograms per hectare, those in Africa record less than 500 kilograms per hectare. Further, the continent loses about 50,000 tonnes of the crop annually to pests and diseases.


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