23 January 2017

If you want to go far, go together: Revisiting the 2016 World Cocoa Foundation Meeting

Revisiting the 2016 World Cocoa Foundation Meeting

On January 18th, the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) released a meeting summary for their 2016 Partnership Meeting & Cocoa Sustainability Trade Fair – a welcomed opportunity to revisit the event and its key findings.

Taking place in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, the WCF co-hosted the meeting with the Ivorian Conseil du Café-Cacao. More than 550 participants from around the world joined discussions about sustainable cocoa farming, emerging technologies for farm productivity and many more. The International Cocoa Initiative was present, on the CocoaAction panel but also as an interested listener of the many topics touched by the meeting.

The opening speeches of the event marked the status quo of the cocoa sector: a need to strengthen sustainable livelihoods of farmers, to scale up sustainability programmes, a need for a stronger focus on environmental sustainability (including climate change and deforestation), a change towards women’s empowerment and the necessity to convince young people to choose cocoa farming as a career – to mark the most talked about issues.

In the long run, the first panels conclude, cocoa needs investment in people. Youths must be aware that opportunities go beyond farming – they also exist along the cocoa supply chain. As for women in cocoa, their restricted access to financial services has to be opened and agricultural insurances should protect them from effects of climate change.

“A difference should be made between protecting people and protecting the cocoa sector. Priority should be sustainable livelihoods for cocoa growing families”, stated Friedel Hütz-Adams (Südwind Institute) talking about poverty eradication in the sector. Challenges towards a more sustainable life for cocoa farmers were identified as high cost of living, lack of transparency of the supply chain, a non-competitive market place and gender inequality within the system.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”, says an African proverb. CocoaAction – the industry’s collaborative programme for cocoa sustainability – called for a unified vision in the spirit of this motto and declared the need for strong relationships within the sector.

To revisit the WCF 2016 Partnership Meeting & Cocoa Sustainability Trade Fair in detail, read the full meeting summary here and follow #WCFPM.

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