Deforestation-free cocoa: Will producers in the Ivory Coast pay the price for sustainability?

Deforestation-free cocoa: Will producers in the Ivory Coast pay the price for sustainability?
Copyright euronews
By Cyril Fourneris
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Euronews travels to Adzopé in the Ivory Coast to learn how a cooperative boasting more than 3,000 members has become a pioneer in fair trade and traceable cocoa.

The European Union's new deforestation regulation (EUDR) will come into force at the end of the year. The Ivorian cooperative Cayat told Euronews how it developed a system that ensures the sustainability of its cocoa and higher wages for growers.

"The standards apply to everyone, so we don't take producers who have deforested or who are in protected areas. With climate change here in Africa, the temperatures are high, there's no rain. 

"We had anticipated this, even before these rules arrived [EUDR], we were already putting in shade tree nurseries," said Robert Yao Nguettia, the General Secretary of Cayat.

Ake Rosin, the General Secretary of the Women's Association at the Cayat Cooperative also explained to Euronews how shade trees can help cacao plants grow. "We've seen that in recent years we've had too much sun and the cocoa trees can't produce any more.

"We've proved that planting trees supports them, and what's more, the leaves from the trees that fall to the ground improve the soil, acting like fertiliser. We're also planting fruit trees, which give them other sources of income".

Plantation inspections are a vital part of Cayat's work and ensure that producers have the tools needed to produce greater yields from smaller spaces, more sustainably. 

"We've managed to put in place measures to protect the environment, but it's not easy for all the cooperatives in the Ivory Coast So, if we want to keep the few producers who still want to continue cocoa farming, we're going to have to buy cocoa at a truly lucrative price," Awa Bamba, the Managing Director of Cayat, told Euronews.

"Each of us has a responsibility. We need to define the responsibilities of the chocolate maker, the exporter and finally the producer. Everyone needs to be clear about what they have to do. It's all very well to save the planet, but we also have to save the people who live here," she concluded.

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