Supply resumes as cocoa strike ends

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Côte d'ivoire

Disruption to cocoa supplies from the Cote d'Ivoire has ceased
following suspension of strikes organised by the cacao growers'
trade union Anaproci.

The union, which represents 80 per cent of the Cote d'Ivoire's cocoa farmers, said on Friday it would suspend the strike to allow the government time to meet its demands.

According to Reuters, the organisation originally called for action at the beginning of last week to demand higher payments and greater financial support for growing co-operatives and began barricading roads to prevent cocoa shipments from reaching warehouses at the main ports of Abidjan and San Pedro where they are stored until being exported.

Growers have warned the government that the strike will resume today if demands are not met. According to the Ivory Coast Cocoa Association, farmers are asking for $1.15 (€0.92) per kilo rather than the set harvest price of $0.80 (€0.64).

The recent unrest followed a warning that the swollen shoot virus has been decimating cocoa trees in the region, further lowering supplies.

Earlier this year, the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) held a conference in Italy to discuss sustainable production.

The complex issue is evident from the ground up, with farmers receiving low prices which force them to turn to more profitable crops.

African cocoa producing countries such as Cote d'Ivoire, account for around 80 per cent of the bean's global exports and the worldwide chocolate market is worth $75 billion (€58.5bn) annually.

But the profitability of the market does not trickle down to producers at the initial stage of production who occupy a weak bargaining position due to their reliance on the commodity.

According to an ICCO report: "Ivory Coast's mostly illiterate farmers are ill equipped to negotiate with hard bargaining upcountry commodity buyers. Most of Ivory Coast's 3m small scale farmers, who produce most of the crop, are poorly organised."

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