Calculating a living income benchmark for cocoa growing regions of Côte d’Ivoire (disponible en fran

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More than 50 key actors in the Ivorian cocoa sector came together on March 20th 2018 in Abidjan to launch the living income benchmark study for cocoa-producing regions in Côte d’Ivoire. The workshop feeds into wider work to calculate living income benchmarks representing the cost of a decent standard of living for cocoa smallholders in both Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.

Recent fluctuations in the price of cocoa has affected smallholder incomes. Cocoa farmers in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, the two largest cocoa exporting countries, have felt the full effects of these price changes, driving home the need for living income benchmarks.

The purpose of the Côte d’Ivoire workshop was to engage actors, both with a stake in, and affected by, the outcomes of the benchmark for Côte d’Ivoire; building an understanding of the work and giving stakeholders an opportunity to provide input on key facets of the study’s scope and approach.

The workshop began with a welcome speech by Mr. Drissa Traoré from the Ivorian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. He spoke about investing in smallholder facilities and bettering traceability and product quality as steps towards improving the livelihoods of cocoa farming households. He also introduced the living income concept, the Living Income Community of Practice and the goals of the benchmark study.

Michelle Bhattacharyya then presented the methodology that would be used to produce the benchmark. This methodology, developed by Richard and Martha Anker, is used to calculate the cost of a decent standard of living, which can in turn be used as a benchmark for living income. The methodology is grounded in international decency standards whilst taking the local context into account. The Anker methodology is also applied across benchmarks produced by the Global Living Wage Coalition (GLWC).

This was followed by a Q&A session with Michelle, the researchers from CIRES (who will calculate the living income benchmark for Côte d’Ivoire) and Levison Chiwaula from Malawi University (who conducted the actual and living income assessment for tea producing regions in Malawi).

In preparation for the benchmark, a scoping study was carried out by cocoa expert Friedel Hütz-Adams of Südwind Institute, who presented the results. The presentation and following discussion focused on which regions would be used to conduct field work for the main study. Based on the data, four regions were offered as locations which best