Ivory Coast’s cocoa board has allocated 161,000 tonnes of international contracts to local exporters this season, half as much as envisaged under a government decree to support local players, the regulator’s chief said on Friday.
In May, the government ruled that 20% of cocoa purchases by multinational companies should be fulfilled by local firms to improve competition in the world’s largest cocoa-exporting economy.
This would have amounted to 320,000 tonnes for the 2021/22 season, but the CCC realized many firms lacked the financial or logistical capacity to handle that volume, sources said in October.
CCC director Yves Brahima Kone confirmed the below-target allocation of 161,000 tonnes.
“The government wants more nationals integrated into the sales system, but we also need to have serious exporters who want to work,” he said.
Over 70% of the local exporters handling the international contracts were picked by the multinationals themselves and the rest were selected by the CCC, he said.
The policy change is meant to change the status quo where major international players used their greater financial muscle to buy and export all available cocoa as local firms lacked access to financing and foreign chocolate makers.
The international cocoa companies with Ivorian export contracts include Cargill, SucDen, Oam, Barry Callebaut, Touton and Ecom.
The cocoa season begins with the main harvest from October to March, which accounts for 70% of production.
(Editing by Alessandra Prentice, editing by Louise Heavens)