Cocoa and Corruption Undermines Sustainability Ghana

Cocoa and Corruption Undermines Sustainability Ghana

An investigation by Ghanaian news organization JoyNews has uncovered allegations that some Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) and farmer society groups | #Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) and farmer society groups | have been illegally renting their certification licenses to businessmen to allow them to export regular cocoa falsely labeled as certified.
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Premium Prices and Potential for Fraud
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Under the Cocoa Sustainability Initiative, farmers are paid a premium price for their cocoa, which is allowed to be certified as sustainable. But this has opened the door to temptation: if regular, conventionally-grown cocoa can be illegally and falsely marketed as sustainable, the result will be greater profitability.
Investigative journalist Kwetey Nartey found that the purpose of the Cocoa Sustainability Initiative is being undermined by certification bodies. In April of 2019, UTZ, a cocoa certification body, placed a temporary ban on new certifications for anyone in Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire.
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Undercover Investigation
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Accordingly, Nartey and his team went undercover on a hunt for licensed buying companies or interest groups willing to trade their license.
What they found was an official who worked with a certification body was willing to assist in the process of illegally obtaining a certification license through corrupt dealings. That official, Hope Wordu, took a commission fee to start the job.
Wordu also opened up on how he would tamper with the documentation when UTZ lifted the ban to allow the team to certify their own group for the certification process. But the farmers who engage Mr. Wordu stand to benefit: they are being exploited by the certification organizations, who take most of the premium bonus for sustainably-certified cocoa.
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Corruption Widespread
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The investigative team wanted to find out how deep the rot went in the cocoa industry. They approached another cocoa interest group willing to sell their certificate, and Hope Wordu introduced them to officials of the farmers’ association Kookoo Pa.
The executive director of that organization was present at the discussion, which centered on the gains that each member of the party would get if the deal was a success.
What the investigation makes clear is that corruption is widespread and flourishing in Ghana, undermining the legitimacy of sustainable cocoa grown there.
Lexicon:
Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) and farmer society groups | https://www.myjoyonline.com/news/national/robbing-the-poor-how-lbcs-are-illegally-renting-certification-licenses-to-businessmen/ |: source from myjoyonline website

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