Industry Stakeholders Seek To Match New EU Cocoa Policy With Sustainability

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News in brief:
- Stakeholders gathered in Abuja to discuss how to drive positive change in the global cocoa industry, including addressing challenges that the new EU policy could bring.
– The forum featured presentations on sustainable cocoa production practices, discussions on technology and social issues.

Stakeholders in the global cocoa industry gathered in November 2023 at the International Cocoa and Chocolate Forum (ICCF) in Abuja, Nigeria, vowing to drive positive change within the sector.

Under the theme ‘The new EU policy, its effect on cocoa-producing regions, and the way forward for the global cocoa trade and industry,’ delegates discussed solutions to pressing challenges affecting Nigeria’s most exported agricultural produce.

This new policy includes a zero tolerance for cocoa produced on deforested land and with child labour. In a statement, the European Commission said it is applying this regulation to protect forests, children and ensure farmers get decent income for their hard work.

Organised by the International Cocoa Diplomacy (ICD), it fostered intellectual discourse on various crucial issues. Dr. Oluseye Oludoye, the convener, delivered a well-received presentation on ‘Good Agricultural Practices for Sustainable and Quality Cocoa Production,’ outlining essential practices for long-term success.

Other prominent speakers like Soji Sanyaolu, CEO and founder of AirSmat; Patrick Adebola, Executive Director and CEO of Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria; Chantal Coady OBE, Founder and former Creative Director of Rococo Chocolates; and many more shared their expertise on diverse topics.

Technology adoption to encourage new generation cocoa farmers

They talked about approaches to addressing global resource gaps and using technology like AI to attract a new generation farmers, as well as bridging the communication gap between cocoa-producing and consuming regions through responsible media engagement.

In addition, the speakers touched on social issues like tackling slavery, human trafficking and child labour within the industry. They evaluated the effectiveness of sustainability labels and identifying new investment opportunities.

The forum emphasised the need to redefine the roles of various stakeholders along the cocoa value chain, shifting the focus from mere social responsibility towards impactful investment that fosters positive social change. A key question explored was whether achieving value addition within cocoa-producing regions is a realistic goal or a distant dream.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.

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