The Cocoa Producers’ Alliance (COPAL) is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1962 by Ghana, Nigeria, Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon. Its headquarters are in Lagos, the capital of Nigeria. Today’s 10 member countries account for 75% of global cocoa production, and any country that produces cocoa is able to become a member.
Composed of three executive bodies (the Council of Ministers, the General Assembly and the Secretariat), COPAL relies on four committees (promotion, scientific research, economy, finance and administration) to manage its various activities and achieve the following objectives: to exchange technical and scientific information, to change the relations of the producing countries and their common interests, and to ensure a market supply in order to maintain competitive prices and to develop cocoa consumption.
All COPAL member countries have one thing in common: cocoa is an important part of their economy. As the world’s largest producer, Brazil exported 125,000 tonnes of cocoa in 2002. Agriculture is generally a key part of local economies. This is the case in Cameroon where 60% of the active population is involved. Across the country, the lives of more than 1.3 million farmers depend on cocoa crops. In Togo, cocoa exports accounted for 19.6% of the country’s total export revenue.
COPAL provides information to producing countries in order to help them cope with the major problems they face, such as diseases or epidemics, but also about competition with the palm oil sector and price fluctuations. The results of COPAL‘s research are presented three times a year at the International Cocoa Research Conferences organized by one of the member countries.