Ivory Coast to Raise Profits for Cocoa Farmers

Friday, November 4, 2011

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast – A major restructuring of the cocoa sector is under way in Ivory Coast, officials announced Thursday in reforms they say will give a boost to the country’s growers by guaranteeing them a minim price.

Agriculture Minister Sangafowa Coulibaly said the government will create a state-controlled company in Ivory Coast, the world’s largest cocoa producer, which will guarantee farmers 60 percent of the international cocoa price.

At a news conference where he unveiled the changes, Coulibaly said the “deep reforms” would inject effective regulation into an industry that has slowly dwindled in productivity and has left farmers at the whims of the market.

Both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have made cocoa reforms a condition for debt relief because “we want producers to get more revenue,” World Bank spokesman Taleb Ould Sid’Ahmed said.

Ivorian cocoa farmers receive just 40 percent of the international cocoa price, while farmers in other cocoa-producing nations like next-door Ghana receive between 60 and 70 percent, according to the World Bank.

Calling cocoa reform the “trigger” for debt relief, Sid’Ahmed told The Associated Press that reform has been slowed by pushback from exporters.

Source: The Washington Post (link opens in a new window)