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Côte d'Ivoire

Ministers hike cocoa bean prices by 50% to drive production

Heavy rains have cut back African production as world chocolate prices soar

Côte d'Ivoire has boosted cocoa prices by 50%, a move seen by the market as an attempt to encourage farmers to raise production hit by crop disease and poor weather. Lower harvests from Africa's top producers have pushed prices to record levels for beans and chocolate.

On 31 March, Kobenan Kouassi Adjoumani, the National Minister of State, Agriculture and Rural Development and Food Production, announced that the farm price would rise from CFA Fr1,000 ($1.64) per kilo to CFA Fr1,500 (AC Vol 64 No 23, https://www.africa-confidential.com/article/id/14709/Putting_a_LID_on_cocoa).

Cote d'Ivoire had twice its usual levels of rainfall last July prompting cocoa shipments to its ports to fall by 28.5% year-on-year in the first quarter of the 2023/2024 season.

The heavy rainfall also helped spread a rotting disease among cacao trees. The costs of falling production have been passed on to consumers in the form of higher chocolate prices.

Cote d'Ivoire accounted for about 40% of cocoa bean production last year, and remains the world's largest producer of cocoa beans. But heavier rains and crop disease in Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire and Cameroon have allowed South American producers such as Ecuador to close the gap on Africa's producers.

The International Cocoa Organisation reported a 35% fall in bean arrivals at ports in Ghana over the past year, it should barely reach 500,000 tonnes by the end of the current season. Meanwhile, cocoa production in Ecuador, the world's third-largest producer, is rising steadily and could reach 460,000 tonnes this year – close to Ghana's outurn.

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