Ivory Coast has stopped sales of export contracts for the current 2021/22 season as the harvest is on track to come in 10% below last year, the head of the cocoa sector regulator told Reuters.
Yves Brahima Kone, director general of the Cocoa and Coffee Council (CCC), said he maintained an earlier forecast that this season's harvest would be up to 250,000 tonnes less than last year's record due to insufficient rain in June to August.
"If we consider that production will be down this year, we have finished our sales for this year," he said.
Cocoa production hit an all-time high last season, with over 2.3 million tonnes of cocoa beans received at the ports of Abidjan and San Pedro, according to CCC sources.
Sales of contracts for the 2022/23 season are ongoing. As of last week, these had reached around 500,000 tonnes with a discount of £150 ($202) per tonne to the Ivorian price, which includes country-specific uplifts, five export sources said.
Ivory Coast has been locked in protracted negotiations with global cocoa buyers after it introduced a $400-per-tonne farmers' premium on beans, known as the Living Income Differential (LID), last season to help curb farmer poverty.
Exporters have been pushing for steep discounts because the LID, plus a so-called country premium added to reflect bean quality, made beans from Ivory Coast more expensive, while the coronavirus pandemic helped cause a supply glut.
Kone acknowledged the continued discount was eroding the benefits of the LID for farmers. "We have to make adjustments to the original differential to keep the LID intact," he said.
Ivory Coast and neighbouring Ghana, the world's second top cocoa producer, will discuss how to do this at consultations in November, he said.