While it’s great news that cocoa prices have jumped in both Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, it’s important to take this celebration with a huge pinch of sea salt. Why? Because cocoa farmers are still not being paid enough. Even though prices are up, farmers are still not earning a Living Income Reference Price (LIRP), which is what they need to move out of poverty. So, we’ll continue to pay cocoa farmers a higher price for their cocoa: 18% more in Ghana and 44% more in Côte d’Ivoire.
Let’s unwrap the bitter truth.. Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire – where over 60% of the world’s cocoa is produced and we source all our cocoa from – are plagued by issues of exploitation in the cocoa industry because of widespread poverty. Cocoa farmers’ human rights are continuously violated through systemic underpayment, resulting in illegal labor practices, like child labor and modern slavery, as well as deforestation, causing harm to both people and the planet.
To protect farmers from crippling low prices, national governments are trying to make sure farmers get a higher price for their cocoa by setting the farmgate price (aka the price paid to farmers for cocoa in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire). This year, the price increased from $1,225 to $1,804 per metric ton in Ghana (+47%) and from $1,344 to $1,612 per metric ton in Côte d’Ivoire (+20%).
The LIRP + our premiums
At Tony’s, we always pay the Living Income Reference Price (LIRP) for all the cocoa we buy. We believe the LIRP is essential for structurally lifting cocoa farmers out of poverty, the root cause of modern slavery and child labor. And even with the price increases, the LIRP is still a lot higher than the national prices for cocoa. To make up the difference, we’ll be paying an additional $316 per metric ton in Ghana and an extra $714 in Côte d’Ivoire.
Louder for the allies in the back!
Did you know.. we’re not the only ones paying the LIRP? More and more companies are joining Tony’s Open Chain, an industry-led initiative that helps chocolate companies fight against exploitation in cocoa. By becoming a ‘Mission Ally’, companies follow our Tony's 5 Sourcing Principles – our tried-and-tested way of sourcing fairer chocolate – which includes paying a higher price for cocoa. Huel, Pleese and Dutch department store Hema are the most recent companies joining the ranks of Ben & Jerry’s, ALDI and Jokolade. And we can’t wait to grow our group even further – who’s next?!