Ivory Coast suspends cocoa bean purchases and exports for June

In a significant move to bolster local grinding operations, Ivory Coast’s cocoa regulator has suspended the purchase and export of cocoa beans for the month of June. Sources indicate that this decision aims to ensure adequate stock for domestic grinders, allowing their factories to remain operational.

The Coffee and Cocoa Council (CCC) made the temporary suspension decision to prevent processing plant closures, which faced stock shortages due to reduced cocoa production. “We no longer had any stocks, and it was becoming difficult to buy beans from other exporters. Without this decision, it would have been impossible to continue grinding on site,” a manager from a local grinding plant shared.

Grinders in the region require approximately 250,000 metric tonnes of cocoa beans during the mid-crop season to maintain a steady supply for processing plants. However, this year’s mid-crop output is projected to be between 450,000 and 500,000 tonnes, a decline from last year’s 555,000 tonnes. This shortfall has not been reflected in production and port arrivals, causing further concern within the industry.

“Everyone is worried because we have contracts to fulfil, but it’s impossible to buy beans until the end of June, and it’s impossible for grinders to reach their targets in just one month,” noted a director from a cocoa company.

While the suspension of purchases and exports is currently limited to June, a CCC source indicated, “we’ll see if more time is needed.” This uncertainty adds to the challenges faced by the industry.

European factories awaiting Ivorian beans will need to source their supplies elsewhere. Even multinational companies such as Cargill, Barry Callebaut, CEMOI, and Olam, which usually supply their European factories with Ivorian cocoa, are prohibited from exporting beans during this period.

“Multinational grinders are only allowed to buy and crush locally. They can’t export the beans to their factories in Europe, which also expect Ivorian beans,” another exporter explained.

As the situation unfolds, the global cocoa supply chain is closely monitoring the impacts of Ivory Coast’s decision, anticipating potential adjustments in sourcing strategies to meet ongoing demand.


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Hannah Larvin
Editor, International Confectionery
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