Ivory Coast Worried it May Lose a Fifth of its Cocoa Beans to Smuggling

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The world’s largest producer of cocoa, Ivory Coast,  has predicted that it may lose a fifth of its cocoa beans to smuggling during the next harvest if neighbouring Ghana fails to cut payments to farmers after the slump in international prices.

The prediction by Le Conseil du Cafe-Cacao, Ivory Coast’s cocoa regulator, comes after the world’s biggest cocoa producer cut farmers’ pay by 36 percent to the equivalent of about 700,000 CFA francs ($1,251) per metric ton in April this year to cope with weak global prices that dropped more than a third in a year on expectations of oversupply.

Meanwhile, Ghana, the second-biggest producer, has kept farmer payments at the equivalent of 7,600 cedis ($1,708) per ton since October and has ruled out any cuts for the main harvest that starts next month.

The commodity is harvested twice a year in West Africa and the development could adversely affect Ivory Coast revenue forecast from the cash crop.

The Ivorian regulator says it expects losses of as much as 400,000 tons of cocoa next season as conditions in the two countries continue to swing.

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara conveyed his concern about the pay discrepancy to his Ghanaian counterpart, Nana Akufo-Addo, according to resources closer to Footprint2Africa.com.

Both countries agreed earlier in May this year to work together on plans to counter volatile prices and officials of their regulators were in talks about the partnership at a meeting between this past Wednesday and Thursday in Ghana’s capital, Accra.

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