Cocoa deliveries to Ivory Coast port unhindered by strike



By Ange Aboa

ABIDJAN, October 13 (Reuters) – Deliveries of cocoa to Côte d’Ivoire’s ports in the past two days topped last week’s total, data showed Wednesday, despite a strike that threatens to block deliveries and beans exports.

Data from the Ivorian Cocoa and Coffee Council (CCC) regulator and exporters showed that 38,000 tonnes of beans were delivered to the ports of Abidjan and San Pedro on Monday and Tuesday, up from 25,000 tonnes last week.

The National Association of Ivorian Producers (ANAPROCI), which represents around 600,000 members in the world’s largest cocoa producing country, is demanding the payment of a 17 billion CFA francs ($ 29.8 million) premium promised by government to help farmers cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Côte d’Ivoire has around one million cocoa farmers, most of whom operate small farms of up to 5 hectares of cocoa.

A bumper harvest last season combined with lower consumption due to the pandemic resulted in lower incomes for farmers as producer cocoa prices fell.

Official farm gate cocoa prices have fallen by more than 17% this season compared to 2020/2021.

“We launched the strike yesterday to demand the Covid premium of FCFA 17 billion promised by the government through the CCC, and also to demand that a framework be put in place to regularly discuss the problems that affect farmers”, declared Wednesday the president of ANAPROCI, Koffi Kanga.

“If the government or the CCC do not listen to us, we will block the whole channel in the coming days. We will by all means prevent cocoa from reaching the ports.

The CCC said the funds announced by the government were not yet available.

“Even if we receive these funds, they will be distributed in kind and not in cash demanded by the unions. The fund will be used to provide free agricultural inputs to farmers,” a CCC source said Wednesday.

More than a dozen farmers told Reuters the strike had had little impact so far, with most farmers focusing on harvesting and drying their beans while buyers still scooped the beans in. plantations. ($ 1 = 570.5700 CFA francs) (Report by Ange Aboa and Loucoumane Coulibaly Editing by Bate Felix and David Goodman)

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