* Cocoa sector says sustainability efforts have fallen short
* Companies, governments, NGOs pledge joint action going forward
* Chocolate companies, cocoa buyers should pay
* Origin countries must limit output, curb deforestation
By Ana Ionova
BERLIN, April 25 (Reuters) - Companies and governments have pledged to tackle poverty, deforestation and human rights abuses in the cocoa supply chain, acknowledging that years of scattered sustainability efforts have failed to spur widespread change.
The four-day World Cocoa Conference in Berlin culminated on Wednesday
"Whatever we've been doing all these years doesn't seem to work," Jean-Marc Anga, executive director
The pledge follows what the ICCO called a "proliferation of uncoordinated initiatives" by companies, governments
Partly driven by concerns about future cocoa supplies, chocolate companies
Yet, as a sharp surge in
The decline in world cocoa prices has only worsened the plight of farmers, slashing their earnings by about 30 percent on average, the ICCO's Anga said.
"It's been very harmful
Sustainable certification - designed to ensure more ethical practices and better earnings - has also fallen short as the premiums farmers receive under the biggest of these schemes have been falling.
To make cocoa sustainable, the industry must shift away from a "selfish" focus on ensuring supplies and towards promoting crop diversity, said Nicko Debenham, vice president of sustainability at Barry Callebaut.
"We've got to have
Chocolate makers and processors must also ensure they are paying a fair price to farmers, who currently command only 6 percent of the $100 billion value chain, the ICCO said.
Anga noted the drop in global prices led to $3.5 billion in savings for chocolate companies in 2017, yet none of it made its way to cocoa growers.
Meanwhile, producing countries such as Ivory Coast and Ghana must coordinate their policies and take steps to cap production at sustainable levels.
"There needs to be
This means producing countries must better gauge how much cocoa is being grown and halt the encroachment of plantations in protected forests. The surge in cocoa production has partly come from such illegal farms.
Boosting local chocolate consumption and cocoa processing has also been seen to help origin countries become more resilient to global market volatility.
(Reporting by Ana Ionova; editing by David Evans)
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