Côte d’Ivoire’s cocoa board has momentarily suspended Cargill, Barry Callebaut, and some other traders from buying new beans because they have already surpassed their contracted exports for this cocoa season.

Coffee and Cocoa Council (CCC) chief executive Yves Brahima Kone said that the board had decided this because the companies’ purchases had surpassed the volume of their export contracts by more than 10% and that they would be obligated to sell off their surpluses.

Smaller domestic exporters in Côte d’Ivoire have said they are at risk of failure because they cannot compete with the higher prices multinational companies are paying for cocoa beans.

A Cargill spokeswoman said its factories were continuing to receive beans. The company said in February that it complied with all CCC regulations around the physical volume. Barry Callebaut did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Multinational cocoa exporters announced in late February to sell their domestic counterparts 60,000 of the 150,000 tonnes the companies in Côte d’Ivoire said they need to avoid default. Still, no agreement has been reached on further sales.

The CCC also announced that it would guarantee farmers 825 CFA francs ($1.40) per kilogramme during the mid-crop harvest, which began on April 1 and will end on September 30.

The mid-crop makes up about 30% of national output, valued at 2.2 million tonnes, roughly 40% of global production.

According to exporters and pod counters, the intermediate harvest in Côte d’Ivoire will be critical this year because of the dry weather conditions the country has seen since December. They expect production at 350,000 to 400,000 tonnes in 2020, compared to 520,000 tonnes in 2019.


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