Cocoa exporters said a violent political standoff following a disputed presidential election in Cote d’Ivoire has led to a fall in cocoa beans arriving at the ports.
The political crisis escalated this week after several opposition leaders called for a boycott on the presidential election held on 31, October. where they rejected President Alassane Ouattara’s victory and formed a parallel government.
The government moved swiftly and placed them under effective house arrest, while a former rebel leader has called for the army to mutiny and join the opposition.
At least 40 people have been killed in violence stirred by the vote, and they fear this will be a repeat of 2010 when a disputed election led to a brief civil war that killed 3,000 people.
Exporters said the cocoa sector started to feel the impact of the crisis after the vote and incidents that followed.
Cocoa accounts for around 15% of Ivory Coast’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is the country’s biggest foreign exchange earner.
Exporters told Reuters, the delivery of cocoa beans to Abidjan and San Pedro ports between Monday and Wednesday was estimated at 29,000 tonnes, compared with the 62,000 tonnes delivered during the same period last week.
Exporters’ data showed that 44,000 tonnes were delivered at ports during the same period last year.
Exporters say farmers, middlemen and buyers are worried since the weekend with heightened political tensions and clashes, so cocoa is not their first priority.
Cocoa is waiting on farms waiting to be harvested, meaning the whole process is delayed for the November/December harvesting period.