This 5th edition of the World Cocoa Conference will be taking place on 21-24 April 2024 at the Brussels Convention Centre –Square1 – in Brussels, Belgium

The conference will focus on discussing measures leading to an equitable distribution of value along the cocoa supply chain, to ensure a better living income for farmers, under the theme: “Paying more for a Sustainable Cocoa”.

The event will be organized over a four-day period to cover plenary and breakout sessions.

Alongside the regular program the Global Village, a dynamic exhibition, will offer exhibition booths, private meeting spaces, silent sessions, and a number of peripheral events, providing the perfect space for learning, networking and interacting with the global cocoa community.

DRAFT Program

Paying More for a Sustainable Cocoa

How to address the unequal distribution of value across the cocoa sector

Sunday, 21 April 2024


Registration Opens 




Side events

Side event 1

Harnessing the value of cacao quality and diversity for improved producer livelihoodspresented by Bioversity International / CIAT Alliance

PART 1Developing capacity for understanding and improving cacao quality and flavour based on a common language

Moderator : Zoi Papalexandratou, Lead Cocoa Advisor, Zoto


  • Cristian Noboa, Technical Director, ANECACAO (Ecuador)
  • Carolina Aguilar, Cocoa Director, Maximizing Opportunities in Coffee and Cacao in the Americas (MOCCA) project (United States Department of Agriculture), Lutheran World Relief
  • Katrien Delaet, Cacao Entrepreneur & Co-owner, Silva Cacao
  • Sylvestre Awono, Group Cacao Manager, Puratos


PART 2Development of a Superior Quality Cacao market segment: Aligning vision across the value chain

Moderator: Jonas Mva Mva, IDH Regional Director Africa, Landscapes & Cocoa The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH)


  • Mohamed Manssouri, Director, FAO Investment Center
  • Michael Ndoping, General Manager, National Cocoa and Coffee Board of Cameroon (ONCC)
  • Marcello Corno, Head of Cocoa Science, Barry Callebaut
  • Andrew Meter, Research Associate, Cacao of Excellence/Alliance of Bioversity and ClAT


Side event 2 – “Value and costs’ distribution in the cocoa and chocolate value chain” – presented by BASIC

Moderator: Peter Moehringer, GIZ


  • Lisa Kirfel-Rühle, BMZ
  • Karen Janssens, Colruyt
  • Antonie Fountain, VOICE
  • Leticia Yankey, Cocoa Mmaa Cooperative, Ghana
  • Zoé Druilhe, DG-INTPA



Official Inauguration of the Exhibition 

  • Mrs Hadja Lahbib, Minister of Foreign Affairs, European affairs and Foreign trade of the Belgian federal government
  • Mrs. Ans Persoons, Secretary of state of the government of the Brussels region in charge of Urbanism, Heritage, International relations and Foreign trade
  • HE Mr. Rafael Soriano Ortiz, Chairman of the ICCO Council



Welcome Drinks Reception sponsored by Molenbergnatie

Monday, 22 April 2024


WCC5 Conference Registration continues



Opening of the Conference 

Introduction by the Facilitator: Leanne de Bassompierre


Opening Speech by Her Majesty the Queen

  • Address by the EU Executive Vice President, Valdis Dombrovskis
  • Address by H.E Souleymane Diarrassouba, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Promotion of SMEs of Côte d’Ivoire
  • Adress by Mr. Alvaro Esteban Del Hierro Paredes, Vice Minister for Agriculture and Livestock of Ecuador 
  • Address by the European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Mrs. Jutta Urpilainen 
  • Address by the Chairman of the ICCO Council, HE Mr. Rafael Soriano Ortiz 


Statement by Mrs. Harper McConnell, VP Global Cocoa Sustainability, Mars, Platinum Sponsor


Cocoa Break


Policy Approach of the Belgian Development Cooperation for Sustainable Cocoa Supply Chain

Moderator: Dr Heidy Rombouts, Director-General, Directorate-General Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid

Opening speech: H.E. Caroline Gennez, Minister of Development Cooperation and of Major Cities Policy of the Kingdom of Belgium

Panellists: Mr Yessongbananan Moussa Yeo, Director-General, Yeyasso  cooperative, Ivory Coast; H.E. Abou Dosso, Ambassador of the Republic of Ivory Coast to the Kingdom of Belgium, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the European Union, former chair of the OACPS working party on cocoa; Dr Frédéric LapeyreDirector of the Priority Action Programme on Formalization at the ILO; Professor Dr Surya Deva, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Development


Presentation by Michel Arrion, Executive Director, ICCO, of the main theme of the Conference, and its relevance for ICCO


Conference programme outlined by the Facilitator: Leanne de Bassompierre


Lunch Break and Press Conference


Panel 1: The quest for the living income of smallholder farmers: why are we stuck and how can we fix it?

Moderator: Viwanou Gnassounou

Lead panellist: Alex Arnaud Assanvo (CIGHCI)

Panelists: Anna Laven; Omer Maledy (CICC of Cameroun); Charles Snoeck (ISCO); Leticia Yankey (Cocoa Mmaa Cooperative Ghana); Timothy S. McCoy (The Hershey Company); Pauline Zei (INADES)

Alex Arnaud Assanvo


Cocoa Break


The EU Sustainable Cocoa Initiative
The detailed programme can be accessed here.  


Key highlights and summary of the day by the Facilitator: Leanne de Bassompierre


End of the day

Tuesday, 23 April 2024


Moderator 1: Tedd George Moderator 2: Leanne de Bassompierre Moderator 3: Viwanou Gnassounou
09:00 Panel 2: The true cost of cocoa  Panel 6: Prospects for the Asian cocoa markets Panel 10: Cocoa policies and regulations

There is a pressing need for a new paradigm in business operations, where companies must consider the environment and social costs incurred by their activities. Is the cocoa sector ready to take on this challenge?  


Lead panellist: 



Gricha Safarian


PanellistsCarla Veldhuyzen van Zanten (Fairtrade International), Virginie Mfegue (Solidaridad International), Anne Meyer (Nitidae), Andrea Rusman (Impact Institute and True Price Foundation), Sylvestre Seka (Coffee and Cocoa Council, Côte d’Ivoire)

The markets of developing and emerging economies serve 85% of the world population; and, yet they absorb only one-third of the world cocoa production. What is the most suitable marketing-mix to target these markets?


Lead panellist



Michele Cui


Panellists: Ramesh Kumar (Cocoa Manufacturing Group Malaysia), Arief Susanto (Askindo), Merlyn Casanova Loor (National Association of Cocoa Exporters of Ecuador-ANECACAO), a representative from Indonesia, Fuad Mohammed Abubakar(Ghana Cocoa Marketing Company, UK)

Importing and exporting countries have adopted policies, regulations, and standards on sustainable cocoa.  Are they compatible? What is their impact on trade, costs and prices?


Lead panellist:



Olivier Wybo
(ASAFO & Co)


Panelists: Astrid Ladefoged (DG ENV -EC), Koné Brahima Yves (Coffee and Cocoa Council, Côte d’Ivoire), Joseph Boahen Aidoo (Ghana Cocoa Board), Beatrice Moulianitaki (Meridia), Chris Vincent (WCF), Cecile Renier (UCL), Barbara Trachte(Secretary of State of the Brussels Government)

10:30 Cocoa Break Cocoa Break Cocoa Break
11:00 Panel 3:  Farmer Income and Social Responsibility in cocoa farming Panel 7:  Sensorial and nutraceutical quality attributes  Panel 11:  Supply management

Smallholder farmers are poor. Land tenure issues, low yields, low prices, bad purchasing practices are well-known drivers of poverty. But very little has changed. What went wrong? What should have been different?


Lead panellist: 



Jordy van Honk


Panellists: Regis Meritan (DG INTPA), Mathieu Desantoine (Enabel – Trade for Development Center), Tawiah Agyarko Kwarteng (CIGHCI), Carolina Aguilar (Lutheran World Relief), Sylvestre Awono (Puratos), Karen Janssens (Colruyt), Michael Ndoping (ONCC, Cameroun)

Taste has always been a factor affecting consumer choices. Meanwhile, nutraceuticals products are increasingly in-demand.  Which opportunities are these trends offering to the cocoa sector?


Lead panellist:



Dayog Kabore
(AFOODS Group)


Panellists: M. Simon Bassanaga (CICC), Fabien Coutel (Treegether), Juan Hinojosa Gómez (Ministry of Agriculture of Dominican Republic), Ambroise NKOH (SCOOP-PCCPA Côte d’Ivoire), Sophie Vanderbecken (Le Caméléon) 

Growth in the demand for cocoa products is limited. Indeed, while emerging and developing countries represent a considerable market, consumption per capita has not improved due to the limited growth in income. On the other hand, the expansion of cocoa consumption in volumes in advanced economies is constrained by the low natality rate. Could supply management play a role in supporting international cocoa prices?


Lead panellist:



Olasunkanmi Owoyemi
(Sunbeth Global Concepts) 


Panellists: Pascal Tillie (JRC), Marijn Moesbergen (Cargill), Merlyn Casanova (National Association of Cocoa Exporters of Ecuador -ANECACAO), Victor Iyama (FACAN), Emmanuel Opoku(Ghana Cocoa Board)


12:30 Lunch Break Lunch Break Lunch Break
14:00 Panel 4:  Strengthening Global Partnerships Panel 8:  Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures  Panel 12:  Commodity Exchange 

Many governments and agencies are supporting the economic, environmental, social sustainability of the cocoa sector through development cooperation projects.  How can these activities contribute to improve the living income of cocoa farmers?


Lead panellist:



Lisa Kirfel


PanellistsMohamed Manssouri (FAO Investment Centre), Valerie Reboud (European Forest Institute), Koen van Troos (Beyond Chocolate), Ramle Kasin (Malaysian Cocoa Board), Johanna Renckens (Rikolto), Kirsti Gjertsen (Port of Antwerp)


The adoption of new food safety measures, addressing health hazards previously unknown, can have unintended consequences for those stakeholders who lack the capacity to adapt promptly to these changes.  What can be done to minimize the risks of trade diversion? 


Lead panellist:



Marc Joncheere


PanellistsFrans Verstraete (DG SANTE, EC), Syed Mustaq Kader (Mask Associates), Hanuman Jain (Gloster Jute), Patricio Almeida (AGROCALIDAD), Catherine Entzminger (ECA)


In many producing countries, farmers sell their cocoa through punctual, arm-length transactions without any bargaining power. The presence of commodity exchanges in exporting countries could not only serve as a marketing information system but be instrumental in providing farmers with collateralized loans.


Lead panellist:



Tucci Ivowi
(Ghana Commodity Exchange) 


Panellists: Debajyoti Bhattacharyya (AFEX Nigeria), Anthony Afam Atuche (Nigeria Commodity Exchange), Vladimir Zientek (Stone X), Kingsley Mbah, (Afreximbank)


15:30 Cocoa Break Cocoa Break Cocoa Break
16:00 Panel 5: The role of women in cocoa community Panel 9:  Cocoa By-products  Panel 13: Farmer Representativeness 

Women play an important role in cocoa farm communities, not only as farm workers but foremost as caregivers. Panellists will discuss the current issues and proposed solutions to increase the inclusiveness within the cocoa farm communities.


Lead panellist: 



Hilary Barry 
(Lady Agri)


Panellists: Caterine Cerda (Kallari & Trias), Nadege Nzoyem (Rainforest Alliance), Sonia Lehmann (GIZ), Harper McConnell (Mars), Elda Esneda Daza Piedrahita (National Federation of Cocoa Growers of Colombia)

Cocoa beans represent only a small share of the weight of the cacao fruits. The pod and the pulp are considered as waste. How can we create a market for by-products to complement the income of cocoa farmers? 


Lead panellist: 



Christine Englebert


Panellists: Lars Gierveld (Kumasi drinks), Koumbou Hien (GIZ), Anian Schreiber (Koa Impact), Frédéric-Amon Marc TANOUH (SCEB cooperative), Fernando Antonio Teixeira Mendes (Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of Brazil), Claudia Delbaere (CACAOLAB)


Farmers are not only the weakest link in the value chain, but they are also rarely included in stakeholders’ consultations. What can be done to improve the representativeness of farmers?


Lead panellist: 



Freddy Cabello


Panellists: Evelyn Bahn (INKOTA), Assata Doumbia (COOP CA ECAM, Côte d’Ivoire), Nkoulou Wong (SCOOPS-AC), Abdulahi Aliyu (Rikolto), Wendy Arenas Wightman (ALISOS), Alexandre Robitaille-Lachance, (SOCODEVI), Traoré Bakary (COOP CA SOCAMEA, Côte d’Ivoire)  


17:30 Wrap-up and closing remarks by the Moderator Wrap-up and closing remarks by the Moderator Wrap-up and closing remarks by the Moderator
19:00 GALA DINNER sponsored by StoneX GALA DINNER sponsored by StoneX GALA DINNER sponsored by StoneX

Wednesday, 24 April 2024




The Quest for Sustainability: Challenges and Prospects
Lieve Verboven (ILO)


The Global Cocoa Agenda: A Roadmap or A Dead End? 

Presentation by

Antonie Fountain,
the Cocoa Barometer Consortium

Antonie C. Fountain Managing Director, VOICE Network




Reports by the 3 Panel Moderators 


Cocoa Break


Wrap-up by the Facilitator with an interactive panel 

Dr. Jorge Rojas Rodríguez,  Ambassador of Colombia in Belgium
Mr. Marchel Gerrmann, Ambassador Business and Development (Netherlands)
Mr. Philippe Brandt, Ambassador of Switzerland in Belgium
Mr. Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, Minister of Trade of Cameroon
Mr. Aldo Cristiano, President, CAOBISCO
Mr. Guus de Gruiter, Board member of ECA
Mr. Eduard Baquero, President of the cocoa producers of Colombia (FEDECACAO)
Mr. Bakary Traoré, Executive Director, IDEF/PICD


WCC5 Brussels Declaration

Mr. Michel Arrion,  Executive Director of the ICCO
He will read out the Brussels Declaration and will deliver concluding remarks


Official closing of the conference


Lunch Break

Note: in the afternoon, a side event will be organized by the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, for the ICCO Members Delegates only