West African neighbours Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world's top cocoa producers, are to set up a joint industry body, according to a document to be signed by the heads of their marketing boards on Friday.
The Ghana-Cote d'Ivoire Sustainable Cocoa Initiative will, among other things, aim to set farmer prices that will discourage cross-border smuggling and enhance collaboration between the two countries' cocoa marketing departments.
Between them the two countries grow around 60 percent the world's cocoa -- about 2.5 million tonnes a year --- but differing policies between the two countries have often led their farmgate cocoa prices to diverge, encouraging smuggling.
The new body will include members of Ivory Coast's Coffee and Cocoa Council and Ghana's Cocobod according to the document, which was drafted during a meeting between officials from the two regulators in Ghana's capital, Accra.
"Both countries agreed to establish a new institution with Ghana and (Ivory Coast) as the nucleus. This institution is expected to attract new members as it grows," it stated.
The document was due to be signed by the heads of the CCC and Cocobod later on Friday.
Ivory Coast and Ghana have been hit hard this season as cocoa futures prices have fallen by around a third since last year owing to a bumper crop in the region.
The price drop has pushed the two countries, which are often viewed as staunch rivals, to pledge to work together and introduce policies that will help them have a greater influence on world cocoa prices.
(Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Adrian Croft) Reuters