Cocoa farmers in the Ivory Coast have called off their strike in order to allow for negotiations with the authorities. This comes despite claims by farmers that they have not been paid for their crops since December last year.
The farmers under the aegis of the National Agricultural Syndicate for Progress in Ivory Coast (SYNAP-CI) staged a protest on Thursday leading to the arrest of a six members. Another six were injured during clashes with police in the capital, Abidjan.
The SYNAP-CI president, Koné Moussa, had earlier stated at a press conference that they were going to launch a complaint against the regulator, the Coffee and Cocoa Council (CCC).
“We are going to file a complaint against the CCC. The fight is just beginning,” he warned. He asked all members to block CCC activities until all their cocoa was disposed.
This situation of slump in the cocoa chain has lasted since November 2016 with producers no longer able to sell their stocks.
“The product is blocked in the two ports of San Pedro and Abidjan,” said Bilé Bilé, chairman of the planters association. Currently, there are “580 trailers of 35 to 38 tons which are blocked in the port of Abidjan which is equivalent to nearly 20,000 tons of cocoa,” he continued.
The Ivorian economy depends heavily on the crop, with 15% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) coming from cocoa. The West African country is the world’s largest producer. The crop accounts for two-thirds of the direct and indirect jobs, according to the World Bank.