Ivory Coast is the world largest cocoa producer, and this year it has been unable to sell most of its produce due to the ongoing pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic has led to global grinding dropping 4% on average and general demand for the produce drop sharply.
As a result, the West African nation has been struggling to sell 500,000 tonnes of cocoa beans from its 2020/21 interim harvest, according to the cocoa regulator (CCC).
Normally, 70-80% of the cocoa crop is sold to exporters and chocolate makers via the CCC, which sets a guaranteed price for producers before harvests generally begin in October.
“It’s a bit difficult in the current market environment and we’re having some problems placing the 500,000 tonnes,” a CCC source said.
“Every day we’re battling to sell.”
Export contracts for the cocoa mid-crop in October have declined to around 20,000 tonnes from 70,000 tonnes in the same month last year.
The interim harvest is usually sold between October and March, but due to the pandemic multinational chocolate makers have large stocks and are therefore slowing cocoa beans purchases.
They have also sought to negotiate lower prices further straining the cocoa industry in Ivory Coast, that is heavily reliant on the crop for 30% of its gross domestic product (GDP).
Exporters, who act as intermediaries between the CCC and the multinationals, want greater flexibility from the regulator in terms of the size and pricing of contracts due to the lacklustre market condition.