Bean shortage causes alarm for Cote d’Ivoire cocoa exporters
According to Reuters, representatives attended a crisis meeting in Abidjan with the regulator, Conseil du Café-Cacao (CCC), late last week, as the country nears the end of its October-to-March main harvest.
Exporters informed the CCC that arrivals at its main ports stood at 34,000 tonnes for the week to 12 February, versus 66,000 tonnes during the same period last season.
Reasons for the shortage have been caused by climate change, swollen root virus (a disease that affects cocoa pods in West Africa), dock worker strikes at the main Ivorian port of San Pedro last year - and a shortage of fertilizer due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
The CCC met with representatives of GEPEX, which represents multinational exporters, domestic traders' lobby GNI and UCOOPEXCI, which represents exporting cooperatives, to discuss the shortfall, local sources said.
"We are heading towards a certain default because we have not been able to buy beans since January," one of the sources, a member of UCOOPEXCI who attended the meeting, told Reuters.
A spokesperson for the domestic cocoa traders association, GNI, said it was also facing difficulties buying beans to honour export contracts.
The volume of cocoa being sold exclusively within the Fairtrade market, which commands a higher price that is passed on to farmers, has also cut the volumes available to domestic exporters, according to Reuters.
"Certified cocoa costs between 950 CFA ($1.54) and 975 CFA francs per kilo, while the farmgate price is 900 CFA francs. It is impossible for us to compete because multinationals have a monopoly on all certified cocoa," a trader, who wished to remain anonymous, told local media.