Reforms could boost returns for Ivory Coast cocoa growers

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Reforms could boost returns for Ivory Coast cocoa growers

Farmers in the world's largest cocoa-producing country Ivory Coast are hoping they will reap the benefits of reforms from president Alassane Ouattara, website reported.

Minister of Agriculture Mamadou Sangafowa Coulibaly, said under the reforms growers would receive 50-60% of the international cocoa price rather than the 35% they receive at the moment.

Minister of Economy Charles Koffi Diby announced earlier last month the government planned to have the reforms in place by the end of this year.

The government decided to make the decision following the opening up of a US$3 billion debt relief fund from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The story reported the country has 900,000 cocoa farmers, while United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) statistics show the Ivory Coast produced 1.2 million metric tons (MT) in 2009 - around 30% of the world total.

The reforms are set to lead to greater government regulation of the sector by setting a guaranteed price, with one regulatory body rather than four. Government spokesperson Bruno Koné said the changes will give the country more power in setting global prices.

The story reported while farmers' associations have welcomed the reforms, as it will allow for less price volatility and better planning.

"Producers never received enough, while the cost of living - and of rice.-.has continued to climb," Abengourou cooperative head Bilé Bilé told IRIN.

However, National Association of Coffee and Cocoa Producers president Gervais Seri, told the website growers needed a better say in reform discussions.

"Farmers are at the heart of the industry, so as producer associations, we are recommending that we sit on the board of the new regulatory structure," he was quoted as saying.

"Cocoa is a business matter. The State should not impose (changes) without consulting producers," added Abengourou grower Amoikou Boi.

Photo: Agricultural Source

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