Rainforest Alliance (RA), the international non-profit organisation working in agriculture, forests and responsible business, has, as part of its 2020 certification programme, announced a minimum of US$70 extra payment per tonnage of cocoa that is purchased from its certified farmers.
Starting from July 2022, the extra payment, known as the sustainability differential (SD), will be a mandatory payment to group members or farm certificate holders by buyers of RA’s certified commodities. The payment will represent extra income to the farmers for adhering strictly to responsible farming practices.
“This additional monetary amount is paid to certified producers on top of the market price to reward them for producing sustainably,” Joseph Yaw Mensah, Senior Associate, Training and Certification, Rainforest Alliance, said at a workshop for journalists in Accra.
“We realised that farmers don’t often benefit from going through certification, and there are a lot of distortions with how much they get after going through a whole lot of hard work, climate change, uncertain access to markets, and so forth,” he added.
The sustainability differential programme is expected to address the structural inequalities in the cocoa sector, persisting low levels of income, and the challenges producers face in negotiating prices in an extremely price-sensitive environment.
RA says it will roll out traceability tools to monitor the electronic receipt of payments by individual farmers or group members whilst requesting buyers to also make sustainability investments for certificate holders.
RA-certified farmers are into climate-sensitive and enviro-friendly agriculture that protects fauna and flora, promotes biodiversity and tackles climate change.
With cocoa being a key driver of deforestation, the organisation works with cocoa farmers to ensure that their cocoa crops are climate-resistant.
“They [farmers] need to ensure that the environment is well protected, their lands also become resilient and be able to adapt to climate change,” Mr. Mensah said.
The two-day capacity-building workshop was organised by Rainforest Alliance in collaboration with the Ghana Agriculture and Rural Development Journalists Association of Ghana (GARDJA) to enlighten the media on the various interventions in the agriculture, business and social sectors.