Cocoa organizations in Cote D’Ivoire and Ghana are reviewing the status of all cocoa sustainability and certification programs to put greater emphasis on implementing the living income differential (LID) the countries established in July.

Representatives from the West African countries — which produce two-thirds of the world’s cocoa — agreed to a $400 per metric tonne differential in the 2020-2021 season with the goal of supporting the countries’ cocoa farmers.

Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire also agreed to legislate a minimum payment of 70 percent of a $2,600 floor price, but farmers would be entitled to bonus payments if the average gross free on board (FOB) price is between $2,600 and $2,900 at the end of the cocoa season.

The countries also decided to set up “stabilization fund accounts” — one for each country — in which any per-tonne earnings above $2,900 gross FOB would be deposited. Those funds would be dispersed if the gross FOB price fell below $2,200. The funds would also support corporate social responsibility programs in both countries.

In a joint statement, Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire said some cocoa buyers have committed to the new system and the $400 LID for the 2020/2021 crop year. Other chocolate makers and brands, the countries said, are instead concentrated on carrying out their own sustainability and certification programs.

“It is worth noting that while the LID focuses on the livelihoods of all cocoa farmers without exception, the sustainability programmes being implemented by the brands only affect a selected few farmers,” the countries said. “It has been observed that the brands are focusing more on their sustainability programmes at the expense of the LID, which rather has more direct positive impact on all cocoa farmers.”

Putting pressure on chocolate makers and brands, Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire are re-examining all cocoa sustainability and certification programs for the 2019/20 season. The leadership of the Ghana Cocoa Board and Cote D’Ivoire’s cocoa organization, Le Conseil du Café-Cacao, will issue a “firm decision” on the continuation or discontinuation of these programs at the World Cocoa Foundation Partnership Meeting next week in Berlin.