Ivory Coast's Coffee and Cocoa Council has finished selling all 1.52 million tonnes of cocoa export contracts for the upcoming main crop of the 2022/23 growing season, much earlier than usual, two CCC sources told Reuters on Wednesday.
Production during the main crop is expected to be about 1.5 million tonnes, down from the 1.6 millions tonnes harvested in 2021/22 because of poor rains in cocoa-growing regions in recent months, the sources said.
This is the first time the CCC has sold all available export contracts so far ahead of the main crop, which runs from October to March. The CCC sources attributed their success to an aggressive sales strategy.
"We are very satisfied with our sales performance. We have sold 1.52 million tonnes of export contracts and we have nothing left to sell," one of them said.
Guaranteed Minimum Farmgate Price
The guaranteed minimum farmgate price paid to cocoa farmers for the main crop is expected to be fixed between 850 CFA francs ($1.31) and 900 CFA francs ($1.39) per kg, the sources said, up from 825 CFA francs this season.
Ivorian authorities have struggled to significantly raise the price paid out to cocoa farmers despite the introduction in 2019 of the Living Income Differential (LID), a $400 per tonne premium paid by cocoa buyers.
A separate premium, the so-called origin differential, has been negative, cancelling out much of the LID.
"The original differential remains negative (about -$150/tonne), which complicates our situation, but we are going to manage to make it positive within a few months," the second CCC source said, without explaining how.
Exporters contacted by Reuters also said they expected production to slow during the upcoming main crop to about 1.5 million tonnes.
"We are expecting a smaller main crop but we need to wait for September to have a better idea," said the director of one exporter. "The rains have not started off well this year."