There has been a halt on cocoa exports for nearly three months in the Ivory Coast after Ouattara called for a suspension of cocoa exports at the end of January this year following on from disputed elections in November, in a move aimed at cutting off funding from his rival Laurent Gbagbo.
In mid-April, after the capture of Gbagbo, Ouattara said cocoa exports would resume once he had taken his seat as leader of the country.
But Marcia Mogelonsky, Mintel’s global food analyst told ConfectioneryNews.com that getting the countries cocoa industry up and running again is not like turning on and off a switch.
Banks and ports have to be reopened and they have to go through various regulations for shipments such as paying export tax, which takes a while to get set up again, she added.
Problems facing Ivory Coast cocoa
According to Steven Haws, manager of commodities risk analyst LLC in the US, the most severe problem facing the Ouattara government is ensuring that reconstruction funds sent from Europe and other regions do not end of being mis-used.
Haws told this publication that if the funds do not get directed to the appropriate agencies, “farmers will see very little improvement [and] cocoa production will deteriorate further.”
Cocoa production in the Ivory Coast has suffered severe problems over the past ten years, such as disease, aging trees and lack of agricultural extension services, he said.
Investment in other countries
Meanwhile, Mogelonsky notes that a lot of effort is being made to ramp up production in other cocoa producing countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Ghana.
Ingredients giants such as ADM and Cargill are looking for other sources for their beans, “They can’t put all their cocoa beans in the same basket,” she said.
She reports that there is a lot of hope for Indonesia as a growing cocoa producer, but work is needed to improve the quality of the crops.