The West African country lifted a suspension on Hershey’s sustainability programs after the Pennsylvania-based company committed to paying a premium on cocoa levied by the government to raise money to support farmers amid a slump in prices.
The governments of Ivory Coast and Ghana had accused Hershey, the maker of Kisses, Reese’s and other chocolate treats, of trying to avoid the $400-a-ton premium they’ve slapped on cocoa, aimed at boosting incomes for hard-pressed cocoa farmers. Hershey upended markets in November when it unexpectedly bought large amounts of cocoa through the futures market, roiling prices.
Ivory Coast — the world’s biggest producer of the chocolate ingredient — and Ghana suspended ethical cocoa programs by Hershey and other chocolate manufacturers, saying the programs, which allow traders to certify that the chocolate ingredient hasn’t been grown in protected forests or using child labor, benefit only a small number of farmers.
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In a letter seen by Bloomberg, Yves Kone, the managing director of the Ivorian regulator, said the suspensions, which had been in place since Nov. 30, would be lifted following Hershey’s commitment to pay the premium. The letter was confirmed by Kone and spokeswoman for the regulator.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Ghana had lifted sanctions on Hershey as well.
(By Leanne de Bassompierre)