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Cocoa exporters in Ivory Coast fear default as bean shortage hits hard

Sylvain N'goran, who has been a cocoa farmer for the past 17 years, holds cocoa beans in his hand in the village of Bocanda north of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Oct. 24, 2022.   -  
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Diomande Bleblonde/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved.

Ivory Coast

The world's top cocoa producer may be facing a bean shortage.

News agency Reuters reported Monday (Feb. 13) that Ivory Coast cocoa exporters  were close to defaulting on their contracts and urgently needed up to 150,000 tonnes to honour their commitments.

Citing sources including from the domestic traders' lobby GNI and the group which represents exporting cooperatives, Reuters mentioned a meeting that was hosted Friday by the Cocoa regulator.

Among different options, the Cocoa and Coffee Council allegedly proposed pushing back the loading period for the contracts of struggling exporters to June. So as to enable them to buy beans during the mid-crop harvest.

Last November, the Anouanze cooperative which helps farmers bring their crops to markets sounded the alarm. Saying their small-scale cocoa producers were hurting because of changing rain patterns blamed on the climate crisis.

Cocoa farming employs nearly 600,000 farmers in Ivory Coast, ultimately supporting nearly a quarter of the country's population, according to the Coffee-Cocoa Council.

Cocoa production accounts for 15% of the nation’s GDP.

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