Large exports of the Ivorian crop had already been made and big volumes of cocoa were said to be arriving at ports in the country this week ready to be shipped when exports are permitted, reports Reuters.
A cash cocoa trader told the news outlet that the European chocolate industry seems to have good cocoa supply cover and is sitting out the ban in the hope shipments will resume in a couple of weeks. And the trader reported that a steady supply of beans from the other main West African cocoa growing producer, Ghana, is offsetting the current lack of exports from the Ivory Coast.
Indeed, Francisco Redruello, senior food analyst at Euromonitor International, told this publication last month that the leading chocolate makers had been seeking this kind of cover during the fourth quarter of 2010 – when cocoa grindings were down as the due to restocking activities - as a way to offset fluctuation in the commodity.
However, the industry representatives, the European Cocoa Association, said the its members continue to report that the uncertainty in relation to EU sanctions imposed on certain Ivorian organisations and individuals is forcing not only a halt to exports but also a slow down and in some cases a cessation of activity in the internal market which will hit the Ivorian farmers hardest.
On 14 January 2011, in the wake of the disputed Ivory Coast presidential elections, the EU Council adopted restrictive measures with regards to the situation there. Additional measures were agreed by the Council on 31 January.
And the ECA said that it still has not received any communication from the EU authorities in relation to a communiqué it sent seeking clarification for its membership on cocoa trade as a result of this de facto ban imposed by the EU.
“Should the situation continue to deteriorate the damage sustained to the cocoa economy of the Ivory Coast will be long-lasting,” stressed the ECA.