Ivory Coast plan to boost cocoa quality
The country is a leading cocoa grower but there has been a steady decline as now a reported 17 percent of produce does not meet quality norms.
AFP reported that Gilbert Anoh N'Guessan, the president of a management committee to oversee cocoa operation, said that in the early part of the decade "only five percent of the produce" did not respond to quality norms.
He added: "We have to move fast."
The Ivory Coast has now launched a programme to improve the situation facing its key export with state funding of between three and 4.5m euros over a 10 to 15 year period.
Quality improvement initiatives will include better ways of drying the bean and fighting soil degradation.
The Ivory Coast is the world’s number one supplier of cocoa beans, producing 1.3 million tonnes last year, followed by its neighbor Ghana – at 690,000 tonnes.
Together, the two countries account for over half of the world’s cocoa production, which stood at approximately 3.9 million tonnes in 2007, according to FAOSTAT figures.
The 2008/09 season has already been plagued by crop disease, disorganisation and political uncertainty in the Ivory Coast, causing prices to rise on concerns about the supply and size of its harvest.
December is usually the peak of the harvesting season, but from October 1 to January 4, arrivals at Ivory Coast ports stood at just 491,000 tonnes, down from nearly double that – 803902 tonnes – a year earlier.
London futures hit their highest level since October 1985 on December 23, closing at £1820 a tonne as speculative investors surged onto the market on the back of reports of extremely tight supply.