Ghana and the Ivory Coast have developed an ultimatum to challenge the large cocoa companies and protect workers from exploitation.
An ultimatum proudly formulated to challenge the big ones companies western of the cocoa: we are referring to what is happening in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, countries among the major producers and exporters of the precious raw material, which recently decided to unite in a common chorus to oppose the exploitation of their workers. The objective of the two nations, in this sense, is surprisingly simple: the request to the multinationals is to undertake to pay an additional premium to the aforementioned farmers, who are currently paid with an average of less than a dollar a day. Naturally, like any self-respecting ultimatum, this too is held up by the most classic of biplanarities: if you don’t do A then here’s what happens to B, so to speak – where A is the request for a more adequate compensation and B is the ban on companies in question.
Prizes, evasions and hypocrisy
As mentioned, Ghana And Ivory Coast can boast one of the most important cocoa production volumes in the world: it is estimated that 60% of the world’s cocoa actually comes from these two countries, and this despite the recent problems with the Drought which partially choked the crops. Yet the vast majority of local farmers work (or rather – are exploited) for less than a dollar a day; which is why the two states have deemed it appropriate to unite by introducing premiums to be paid by the processing companies on their cocoa beans.
Awards which, over time and due to the evasion attempts of the companies themselves, have ended up thinning down to being reduced to a grotesque parody of themselves. To be clear, the first prize, known as the “origin differential”, was brought below zero in recent years due to the pressure exerted by Merchants; also sinking with it the second prize linked to it, i.e. the “outright income differential” equal to 400 dollars per ton.
In other words and in no uncertain terms – the method devised to protect workers had turned into a joke. Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire therefore decided in July this year to end the relationships trade with companies that used to cancel or reduce the first prize to zero – a strategy that, once again, has been overturned by the economic dominance of companies. So we come to the present day andultimatum to which we introduced you at the beginning of the article: the deadline was scheduled for Sunday 20 November, the date following which the multinationals still intending to evade the aforementioned prizes would have been formally banned from business.
The African threat is to disrupt individual farms’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs, while at the same time banning buyers from visiting fields to forecast crop yields. Naturally, the response of the so-called cocoa big names was full of fine words full of wind: the spokesmen declared that they were not used to strategies of this type, and that they preferred the “good actions” on basis voluntary.
An answer that, of course, gives mocking continuity to the tradition of taking the i bottoms. The idea of the companies is basically to continue to engage in generic pilot projects aiming at grandiose goals such as “improving the conditions of farmers” or “making more sustainable cocoa supply chains”, famously characterized by deforestation – decoys, in other words, which please the most naive and which, in the meantime, allow us to continue to reiterate an absolute and ruthless arrogance.