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Supply Chain

Ivory Coast Expects Cocoa Mid-Crop To Drop In 2023/24, Sources Say

By Reuters
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Ivory Coast Expects Cocoa Mid-Crop To Drop In 2023/24, Sources Say

Ivory Coast's cocoa regulator expects the country's April-to-September mid-crop to fall to 400,000-450,000 metric tonnes, two sources at the regulator told Reuters, down from around 550,000 tonnes last year.

The Cocoa-Coffee Council (CCC) has sold between 250,000 and 350,000 metric tonnes of export contracts for the mid-crop, the sources added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Cocoa exporters, farmers and pod counters said the mid-crop was progressing fairly well despite mixed weather conditions.

"For the time being, we are seeing good development of the mid-crop, but it will not be on a par with last year. It will be significantly less than last year's 550,000 tonnes", said one of the CCC officials.

"We expect to produce between 400,000 and 450,000 tonnes, but we have sold between 250,000 and 350,000 tonnes in contracts in order to have a margin," said the other CCC source.

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While the annual harvest is expected to drop 25%-30% this season, local grinders, whose demand is estimated at around 730,000 tonnes, will have no shortage of beans, the sources and grinders said.

'A Tight Schedule'

"The council has enabled us to buy as many beans as possible in order to keep the factories in production and maintain grinding levels at around 80%-90%, which is rather good news but we are all on a tight schedule and it's stressful," a source at a cocoa grinding company told Reuters.

"Priority was given to grinders, and they are well covered despite the general drop in production. Almost all the mid-crop's cocoa is destined for the grinders," said the first CCC source.

The CCC expects annual cocoa production in the 2023/24 season not to exceed 1.8 million tonnes, the two sources said.

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As it looks ahead to the 2024/25 season, the regulator is concerned with production levels as it does not yet know whether this season's drop is structural or just cyclical.

"We're still looking for the reasons, and as we don't know, we're going to be cautious. We're looking forward to seeing the fields from May, June and July to get a clear idea", said the first source.

Meanwhile, sales of export contracts for the 2024/25 season are still on hold despite a sharp increase in cocoa prices.

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