Cocoa exports from major grower Ivory Coast are said to be picking up, but imprecise counting techniques and smuggling brings figures into question, according to reports.
Cocoa arrivals at the country’s two main ports were estimated at 18,000 tonnes last week, an 11,000 tonne increase on the same week last year – bringing the year-on-year deficit to within one per cent, said Reuters.
However, estimates were calculated arbitrarily by exporters counting the number of trucks carrying cocoa to ports and analysts said true production figures from Ivorian plants could inflated by smuggling from bordering Ghana, where prices are lower.
Official figures from Ivorian cocoa regulator BCC meanwhile indicated that exports were within two per cent of last year’s volumes.
Despite the experiencing the worst harvest in 2008-09 for at least five years, a director for a European export company based in Abidjan remained upbeat.
"Ultimately, we believe that production during the mid-crop will be better than last year even though we're only in the midst of it," he said.
Ivory Coast's main crop runs from October to June, with the mid-crop running for the remainder of the year-long season.
Production in the African nation, which accounts for around a third of the world’s cocoa supply, was destabilised by civil war in 2002-03.