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The International Labour Conference is the ILO’s highest decision-making body. It meets annually, bringing together the tripartite (governments, employers and workers) delegations from the Organization’s 187 members States and several observers from other international actors to consider series of topics placed on its agenda by Governing Body of the ILO.

This year’s meeting will be held in Geneva, Switzerland between 10-21 June 2019. The Conference is composed of a plenary and several committees set up to consider the standing items on the Conference agenda, and technical committees to deal with technical items This year’s Conference takes place during the Centenary of the ILO and will deliberate on the following;

  • The crafting and adoption of international labour standards in the form of conventions and recommendations.
  • Supervising the application of conventions and recommendations at the national level.
  • Representing a forum where social and labour questions of importance to the entire world are discussed. Delegates explore the course of social progress in the world, but the central theme is the report presented each year by the ILO’s Director-General.
  • Violence and harassment in the world of work and Thematic debates and events connected to the Future of Work, including various Centenary Initiatives.

It’s being held in two locations in Geneva, Switzerland: the Palais des Nations and ILO Headquarter, for more than 5,700 worker, employer and government delegates from the ILO’s 187-member States.

The COCOBOD delegation is led by Mr. Francis Akwasi Opoku (Director, Human Resource/Solicitor Secretary) with Messrs Sefa-Clottey (Director, Legal), Francis Gyamfi Ocran (HR Manager, COCOBOD), George Oppong (HR Manager, QCC), Nana Akua Achiaa Mansah (Dep. HR Manager, CHED), Regina Adjei Baffour (Administrator, Takoradi), Festus Nene Caesar (Dep. HR Manager, CMC), Felicia Gawu-Mensah (Dep. Admin. Manager, CMC) as team members.

COCOBOD Workers, on the other hand, are also represented by Messrs Edward Okoh Ampofo (Supreme Chair), Theodore Otomfo Adu (Chairman, Snr. Staff Assoc.), Nasiru Issaka (Union Chair, SPD), Emmanuel Samuel Awuku (Union Exec., CRIG).

To mark the ILO’s Centenary year, the meeting’s Plenary will hold several high-level sessions throughout the conference, to accommodate the visits of a large number of heads of State and Government.

The President, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo will address the Plenary together with other Heads of States.

The Conference will elect its President and Vice-Presidents, to be followed by the opening address of ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, the spokespersons of the Employers’ and Workers’ groups, and the Chairperson of the ILO Governing Body.

Ghana Cocoa Board Explore Business Expansion Strategies with SA Bank

The SA Bank delegation met with Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), in the capital city of Accra.

For its part, the bank has committed 80 of its executives to dig into where and how Africa can grow its businesses and business communities. During their meeting, Aidoo emphasized the essential economic contributions of the country’s cocoa output to the global supply. Ghana is second only to Cote d’Ivoire, with an average of 900k metric tons worth $2bn.

Together, the two African nations supply 60% of the world’s cocoa. According to a COCOBOD release, Aidoo also bemoaned that despite an estimated $100bn market value for cocoa, the top-two producing nations only accrue $6bn in annual revenue.

Aidoo told the delegates that falling cocoa prices have impacted farmers. According to the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), the daily price has sunk 26% from its 2016 peak from $3,182 per ton in January 2016 to $2,342 per ton at the start of 2019.

As of June, that number had dipped further, to just under $2300 per ton. The low revenue had forced some farmers to sell their farmlands to illegal gold miners, which poses a threat to the survival of Ghana’s cocoa industry and the world cocoa economy at large.

Climate change has also adversely affected the sector sustainability, he said, noting that Ghana has taken various steps to curb its effects on cocoa production. COCOBOD launched what it calls Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEPs) to assist farm rehabilitation, mass pruning and hand pollination.

Standard Bank leader Steve Hall said his financial institution will continue to support COCOBOD in its annual loan facility to purchase cocoa. The 17 visiting executives also visited the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, the Cocoa Processing Company and the Cocoa Marketing Company to have the first-hand experience of the work COCOBOD does every day.


Higher cocoa prices could end child labor in Ghana: Study

Ghana could end child labour on cocoa farms by increasing the prices it pays impoverished farmers by about 50%, a U.S. study said on Wednesday, as global efforts to end child labour stall.

Paying just 3% more at the farm gate could stop children in Ghana doing the most hazardous tasks, like using machetes, or working more than 42 hours a week, researchers said, as the illegal practice is driven by poverty and rarely prosecuted.

“We figured there has to be some kind of incentive, on top of the laws, to get the farmers to stop using child labour,” said Jeff Luckstead, an agricultural economist at the University of Arkansas, co-author of the study in the journal PLoS ONE.

“It’s a really difficult issue because these are very poor farmers … They don’t have many options – they can’t just go and hire people,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Ghana is the world’s second largest cocoa grower, with more than 700,000 children producing the crop, often doing dangerous jobs on family farms like carrying heavy loads or using sharp tools, the anti-slavery group Walk Free Foundation says.

Big chocolate makers have been under pressure to clean up their supply chains since reports of child labour on West African cocoa farms emerged in the 1990s, with major names like Mars and Hershey promising to only buy ethical cocoa by 2020.

The International Labour Organization has said the world is unlikely to meet a target of ending child labour by 2025, which is part of 17 global development goals agreed in 2015 at the United Nations.

Researchers came up with the price premiums by analysing data between 2003 and 2015, including household budgets, cocoa prices and production and children’s education and leisure time.

While recognising a 50% price increase was “implausible”, the study suggested that Ghana could become more competitive globally if it could certify its cocoa as “child labour-free”.

All cocoa produced in Ghana is sold to the regulator, COCOBOD, which paid farmers 7,600 cedi ($1,435) per tonne last year. Ghana exports almost 20% of global cocoa output of some 4.8 million tonnes a year.

Most cocoa farming families live below the World Bank’s poverty line of $2 a day, according to the charity International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), fuelling child labour.

But Genevieve LeBaron of Britain’s Sheffield University, who was not part of the study, said the key to ending poverty among cocoa farmers was not necessarily raising COCOBOD’s prices but fairer distribution of profits within the chocolate sector.

The global chocolate industry was worth about $85 billion in 2018, and is projected to jump to $102 billion by 2022, according to leading research firm Mintel.

“If you look at the annual profits of the largest cocoa and chocolate confectionary companies in the world, there’s plenty of money in that supply chain that could be redistributed downwards along the value chain,” said the politics professor.

Source : Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Ghana gets only $2bn from $100bn cocoa industry— COCOBOD CEO

Despite producing about 20 per cent of the world’s total cocoa beans, Ghana gets only $2 billion in terms of revenue from the $100 billion cocoa industry, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has disclosed.
This is due to the inability of the country to add value to its cocoa beans, as about 80 per cent of the cocoa produced is exported in its raw form.

“Ghana is the second leading producer of cocoa as we account for roughly 20 per cent of the world cocoa production but the income we get from the entire cocoa value chain which involves production, processing and manufacturing of chocolates is just $2 billion,” he said.

Mr Boahen Aidoo said this when some executive members of the Standard Group visited COCOBOD.

“Together with Cote d’voire, we produce about three million tonnes of cocoa beans which translate into about 60 per cent of the world’s cocoa but the revenue generated from the sale of cocoa for the two countries doesn’t even add up to $6 billion, and this is sad,” he noted.


Mr Aidoo also indicated that the farmers in Ghana who were the anchor around which the industry revolved got less than three per cent of the US$100 billion.

“The farmers in Ghana who are producing about three bags per acre and are the anchor in the entire cocoa value chain get about only three per cent of this amount,” he stated.

“We are talking about 800,000 farm households and in effect we have about 1.2 million farmers involved and most of them are smallholder farmers operating about 2.5 hectares,” he added.

Low production

Commenting on cocoa production in the country, the CEO pointed out that production had been very low in the country over the years.

“The average cocoa farmer in Ghana produces around 450 kilos per acre which translates into about three bags per acre which is very low,” he noted.

He said COCOBOD had, therefore, been undertaking some productivity enhancement programmes to improve upon the productivity of farmers.

“We believe in a vertical productivity and not lateral, and what it means is that we want to inject a lot of the efficiency into the way production takes place, such that given the same acreage of land, the farmer should be able to enhance his or her productivity and increase yield on the same piece of land,” he explained.

Purpose of visit

The Head of the delegation from the Standard Bank Group, Mr Steve Hall, said the purpose of their visit was part of the bank’s efforts to drive economic growth in Africa.

“We are not here just to bank Africa, but the purpose resides in the fact that we see Africa as an entire continent and a home, and we are here to drive its growth.

“We are also here as an executive team to learn about how we can play our role in making this our home and be able to drive the growth of Africa.

We are on a journey to learn around these things so that as an executive we can help transition the bank into one that can really drive Africa’s growth,” he noted.

Source : Graphic Online