FILE PHOTO: Workers help their colleague to carry a bag of cocoa beans on his head in San-Pedro, Ivory Coast October 1, 2023. REUTERS/Ange Aboa/File Photo

ABIDJAN, Feb 15 (Reuters) – Ivory Coast’s Cocoa and Coffee Council will not default on its export contracts despite a drop in cocoa production since the start of the October-to-March main crop, CCC’s managing director Yves Brahima Kone said on Thursday.

His remarks followed reports that as traders are scrambling for beans, industry experts are predicting ever wider deficits this season and have growing concerns for the next. Last week, a Reuters cocoa poll forecast a global deficit of 375,000 tons in the 2023/24 season.

Bean supply is tight in the world’s top producer of the commodity. Cocoa arrivals at ports were 33% lower between Oct. 1 and Feb. 11 compared to the same period last season.

Kone said in an interview on Thursday that the Cocoa and Coffee Council regulator would still meet all its commitments made to exporters last year.

He said the amount of beans available on cocoa plantations across the country would still be enough to meet export contracts despite a sharp drop in supply recorded since the start of the 2023-24 season.

“I can tell you that there are no and will be no defaults this year in Ivory Coast,” Kone said.

“We have been cautious and have sold volumes we were able to produce this season, both for the main and mid crops, so we are calm and serene,” he said.


Several industry sources, including exporters, have said the April-to-September mid crop would be more or less in line with usual production patterns, which would compensate for low main crop output.

Pod counters, exporters and analysts estimate mid crop production to sit between 450,000 and 500,000 tonnes.

Kone said export contracts that could not be met with main crop harvests would be pushed back to the mid crop’s harvest period, which has already happened in the past.

“We can see that the mid crop harvest is developing much better than we expected, and that’s reassuring. We have sold less and have a good margin,” he said.

“We are going to postpone any contracts that need to be postponed, but it’s important to remember that we have sold just under 300,000 tonnes in mid crop contracts. This gives us some leeway in relation to production forecasts,” he added.

“There is less cocoa available this year, but there is plenty for those who have contracts.”


(Reporting by Ange Aboa; Editing by Sofia Christensen and Susan Fenton)