Ivory Coast and Ghana Seek to Counter Cocoa Slump Together

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Workers gather cocoa bags from trucks at SAF CACAO, a export firm in San-Pedro, Ivory Coast January 29, 2016. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon

Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world’s largest cocoa producers, said they will work together to derive more value from growing beans after a slump in prices hurt their economies.

The two West African nations will better coordinate the production and marketing of cocoa while boosting the countries’ capacity to process beans, Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara and his Ghanaian counterpart, Nana Akufo-Addo, told reporters in a joint briefing on Friday. The countries requested the African Development Bank to do a study on how they can reap the most benefit from their cocoa sectors, Ouattara said after a meeting between the leaders in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital, Abidjan.

“We don’t want to export cocoa beans. We want to export processed cocoa,” he said. “That is what we want at the end.”

Cocoa futures in London are trading near the lowest in four years as a rebound in production is leaving the global market oversupplied. Plummeting prices are hurting the finances of producing nations and incomes for hundreds of thousands small-scale farmers.

Ivory Coast, the top grower, had to reduce the price paid to farmers by 36 percent for the smaller harvest which started last month and trimmed its 2017 budget by a 10th. Ghana lost almost $1 billion in export value because of lower prices, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the chief executive officer of the country’s cocoa regulator, said in April.

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