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Chocolate Traders Not Paying Farmers Living Wage Premium, Alleges Ivory Coast

Chocolate Traders Not Paying Farmers Living Wage Premium, Alleges Ivory Coast
The price of $400-per-tonne premium on coca beans that was designed to bring down farmer poverty as was pledged by major chocolate traders in Ivory Coast are not being paid, alleged the cocoa regulator of the country in a draft letter, according to reports citing sources with information of the contents of the letter.  
A negative country differential - normally a premium of 70 to 150 pounds ($99-$212) per tonne is being offered to offset the Living Income Differential (LID) by companies including Mondelēz International Incwere which the companies claim is being done to reflect the quality of Ivory Coast's beans, says the Coffee and Cocoa Council (CCC) of the country.
Mondelēz said it was paying the full LID. "(Mondelēz) does not offer or have any influence over negative country differentials," the company said in a statement to the media in response to reports.
There have been demands from buyers for changing the country differential into a country discount which will arguably allow farmers to receive the extra cash while prices continue to remain competitive globally.
"In recent weeks, when we have seen an upturn in economic activity and therefore in demand, the major groups have refused to pay the LID," CCC said.
A bumper crop this year in the top cocoa producer of the world as well as global demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the introduction of the LID has pushed down prices and sales of cocoa from the country and the country’s authorities are currently holding talks with exporters over the price of the beans farmed in the country.
"(We will) stop all the sustainability and certification programs of Mondelez that are ongoing with Cargill, and all the other exporters," said an official at CCC who was not named in the reports.
The United States chocolate maker Hershey Co was accursed in November last year of trying to avoid paying the LID and as a result Ivory Coast and Ghana suspended the company’s cocoa sustainability schemes in their countries for a period of six days.
"Unlike Hershey, this time we are going to be tough on chocolate makers who want to bypass the LID. For us this is unacceptable," the CCC official said

Christopher J. Mitchell

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