Stakeholders in the global cocoa producing nations, global chocolate-consuming nations, top government officials, and diplomats from various countries have stressed the urgent need to close up the huge gap between the production and consumption of cocoa globally.
This was made known during the launch of the International Cocoa Diplomacy (ICD), founded by His Royal Majesty Oba Dokun Thompson, the Oloni of Eti-Oni, Osun State, Nigeria, at the prestigious Royal Overseas League House in St James’s, London, with the theme; ‘Building Bridges for Transformation and Shared Value.’
The event was organized by Friends of Eti-Oni as the 6th annual edition and the Royal Cocoa Soiree of Arts and Culture in support of the cocoa renaissance initiative and vision of Oba Thompson to transform the rural community of Eti-Oni into a sustainable model smart town.
Oba Thompson remarked that the International Cocoa Organization, (ICCO) was established simply to advance the local economy of cocoa producing regions, but after over 40 years of its establishment, the story had been the same in the regions, which was partly the very reason the ICD was established for a bottom to top approach.
He went on to say that ICD was dedicated to closing the gap between the production and consumption sides for transformational purposes, which would eventually lead to sustainable cocoa production.
The global coordinator of Friends of Eti-Oni, Yemisi Jenkins Mbe, said the organization is working towards changing the bitter story of cocoa to a sweet one through immense socio-economic contribution to achieve positive impact in the cocoa production communities.
The event’s Special Guest of Honor, Anthony Severin, St. Lucia’s High Commissioner to the UK, noted that Oba Dokun Thompson’s efforts had great significance to St. Lucia since cocoa was first cultivated there, and that the month of August had been designated as “Chocolate Heritage Month” in St. Lucia.