Cocoa harvest 2017-18: Increase in volumes with pitfalls

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, von Michael Stamm Produktion Kritisch

After a successful harvest in 2017-2018 and a significant increase in volumes, we had to detect pesticides in our warehouse during the organic inspection in Europe.

In my previous blogpost, I explained that the cocoa harvest of 2017-2018 was good and that prices dropped significantly at the beginning of the season.

gebana Togo always paid prices above the minimum FLO price (25% above conventional) plus an organic premium. Additionally, we have certified many new farmers in the north of the country (Badou region).

With success!

After some years in which we had difficulties to compete in the field in order to get the volumes we wanted, that year was the complete opposite: We were able to increase volumes significantly.

But now the blow:

As a result of our high prices for cocoa, we detected pesticides in our warehouse during the organic inspection and in the analysis of some containers after their arrival in Europe!

This is a pity considering the amount of work being done in the field and in terms of sales (see previous blog post).

We can explain this situation due to:

  • Togo is close to Ghana, so the products could have been smuggled into the country because of lower prices in Ghana.
  • internal fraud by gebana agents or collectors.
  • failure in our internal control system.

Indeed,

in one of the world's poorest countries, it was simply too tempting to buy conventional cocoa at a lower price and sell it as an organic and fair trade product. We are currently investigating thoroughly to pinpoint the source of fraud.

All containers were sampled and pesticide-analyzed on arrival in Europe. Only the "clean" are sold as organic – the others are downgraded to conventional.

This situation will definitely have significant financial implications for gebana Togo.