Cocoa Exporters Frown on GoL ‘Single Exporter’ Ambition
The National Liberia Cocoa Exporters Association (NALCEA) has expressed dissatisfaction over the Government of Liberia recent revelation of plans to have a single cocoa exporter. The group says that the “single exporter” plan would undermine the livelihoods of people that rely on cocoa production and trade.
The group made the statement after Musa Konneh, Deputy Director General for Operations and Technical Services at Liberia Agricultural Commodities Regulatory (LACRA) recently disclosed that his entity is considering to have a single exporter for cocoa commodity.
According to Konneh exporters have failed to meet up to standards that his entity has set. He says that exporters are not meeting their financial requirement which is US$50,000 bank balance. He further that warehouses, pricing, truck to transport cocoa beans, and jute bag are other requirements that present exporters cannot commit to.
However, Sheikh A. Turay, President of NALCEA says the “single exporter” plan would narrow competition among cocoa exporters and destroy the work previous actors had made to liberalize cocoa marketing.
“The liberalization of cocoa marketing has resulted in coca farmers receiving six times the price compared to prices in 2008. This has encouraged farmers to rehabilitate their cocoa farms, improves their livelihoods and contribute to the national economy and improves foreign currency earning of the nation. All this would be destroyed by this propose monopoly and the [cocoa sector] will return to the dark ages. We strived and went under various regions to see ourselves transform cocoa marketing from monopoly to liberalization,” he says.
He adds that the plan would halt the ongoing revitalization process of the cocoa sector and destabilize the livelihoods of more than 30,000 cocoa producers.
“The proposed monopoly would destroy all hopes of the revitalization of the cocoa sector. This is totally counterproductive to the efforts and initiatives of all the actors of the cocoa sector including donors. This will return over 30,000 smallholder farmers to poverty” says Turay.