The VOICE Network and its members are deeply concerned about the effects of COVID-19 on cocoa farming households, a group already in a vulnerable position. Our immediate concern is for the health and wellbeing of members of cocoa farming households. We are equally concerned about the direct economic impact this global crisis will have on families, who live already well below a living income. During the 2016 price crash, the cocoa and chocolate industry made strong profits while farmers and producing governments lost billions of dollars. Cocoa and chocolate companies did virtually nothing then to support their farmers. This cannot happen again.
Today, we release a Call to Action to the cocoa and chocolate industry to do everything within their means to help protect their cocoa farmers. We offer four key considerations from the chocolate and cocoa industry which play into their role and responsibility, and mirrors responses we see in their employee care in consuming countries.
- Cease all non-essential farm visits
- Support communication to farming communities on health messaging
- Use existing supply chain mechanisms for provisioning farming communities
- Set up an emergency relief fund commensurate to the challenge
Our full paper can be read here.