It is the start of the cocoa season in Côte d’Ivoire, and it is characterized by an increase in the price paid to the producer of more than 20% compared to last year. An economic boost a few days before the presidential election in a very uncertain context for the cocoa sector.
The cocoa farmers expected and hoped strongly for this increase in the minimum price. A few days before the vote, scheduled for the end of the month, “no announcement of at least 1000FCFA per kilo would have created much dissatisfaction among the plants after a promise failed last year,” said economist François Ruf. by postponing this increase by one year, the current candidate Alassane Ouattara has finally left himself “a clever maneuvering margin”. The 800,000 cocoa producers and their relatives account for 25 to 30% of the Ivorian electorate.
Boost for more than a quarter of voters
This boost is to be funded this year by the decent income gap, $ 400 more than the world price awarded last year by Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana from the chocolate industry. 2020-2021 is certainly a very special campaign, we point out in the business with the entry into force of this differentiation, a high-risk presidential election and Covid-19 …
Lots of uncertainty
The pandemic has already affected declining global demand for chocolate as well as consumer purchasing power and restaurant activities. The paint factories are far from operating at full capacity and currently have negative margins – which did not prevent the Coffee and Cocoa Council (CCC) from launching the construction of two new processing units on Ivorian soil a few years ago. days. Refinancing is also more expensive for exporters.
Differential choice, Covid-19 and high-risk choice
But it is the development of the Ivorian political situation that worries the industry the most. There is a risk that tensions will re-emerge in cities and in the cocoa regions, “especially in the west and northwest, where cocoa has developed the most in ten years and where land issues may be. Again politically exploited,” notes agronomist Philippe Bastide .
Export as soon as possible
How would the collection of cocoa, the transportation, if trucks are stolen or burned, or simply if the administration stops for all the procedures? Cocoa has always ended up leaving Côte d’Ivoire, but the exporters’ strategy is to go there as soon as possible to export as many beans as possible at the start of the season, and the harvest starts pretty well from a point of view. agronomy and producers by receiving a good price.