Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, set its guaranteed price for farmers at 700 CFA francs ($1.27) per kilogram for the 2017/18 main crop season, the Coffee and Cocoa Council (CCC) marketing board said on Sunday.
Lambert Kouassi Konan, the chairman of CCC’s board, announced the price at a ceremony marking the start of the season, adding the cocoa registration tax had been eliminated in order to boost the farmers’ price.
“I can tell by your silence that you are worried by this decision. But I would like you to know that this isn’t easy. If we had relied simply on our theoretical calculations, we should have paid even lower than this price,” Konan said.
Ivory Coast was hit hard last season by a steep drop in London and New York cocoa prices that provoked a wave of contract defaults and forced the CCC to slash the farmer price by more than a third to 700 CFA/kg for the April-to-September mid-crop.
Neighbouring Ghana, the world’s number two cocoa grower, maintained its price throughout the last season and has hinted that it will keep it unchanged or even raise it in 2017/18. That would open a significant price gap with Ivory Coast, raising the risk of large-scale smuggling of Ivorian beans into Ghana.