Hershey’s and Mars accused of not paying fair bonus to cocoa farmers

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The Coffee Cocoa Council (CCC) and the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) on Monday accused the multi-conglomerate chocolate sellers, Mars and Hershey’s of escaping from paying a bonus that helps boost income of the poor cocoa farmers majorly from west African nations of Ivory Coast and Ghana. 

The boards released a statement accusing the two chocolate giants of trying to get out of paying LID to the famers. Living Income Differential is the additional sum to be paid per each tonne of cocoa that ensures the practical increase of the price that is paid to farmers. The decided LID was $400 per tonne of cocoa. Despite agreeing on the terms, there have been tensions regarding the pricing.

As a result of this the producers decided to cancel all sustainability programs which the multinationals were involved in. The scheme states that the chocolate is ethically produced and hence allows the firms to sell it at higher prices. The Production is supposed to be child free labor and must avoid deforestation strictly. Mars categorically denied all accusations. “We were the first major manufacturer to support the LID. In addition, this year we have invested more in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana sustainability programmes,” it added.

Hershey said the “misleading” statement from the two countries was “unfortunate” and they had jeopardised critical programmes that helped farmers. The chocolate giant said it was participating in the LID for the current crop year and would continue to do so, adding that it looked forward to discussions with Ivory Coast and Ghana to continue “the sustainability programmes that are benefiting cocoa farmers today”.

In a separate statement the two boards have accused Mars of changing its cocoa butter procurement process to avoid paying the LIP. Both the African countries account for more than 60% of the cocoa produce in the entire world. The CCC and Cocobord denounced Hershey’s and Mars’ “breach of confidence” within the scheme designed to assist tens of millions of African farmers. 

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