Ivory Coast has started selling cocoa directly to the world’s top traders, switching from auctions to a system already used by the region’s other major cocoa producer Ghana, two senior sources at the cocoa regulator said.

Ivory Coast sold 400,000 tonnes using the new system in the first week of February, the sources at the Coffee and Cocoa Council (CCC) told Reuters.

The CCC was not available for official comment on Monday or Tuesday, despite repeated requests from Reuters.

The CCC in Ivory Coast and Ghana’s Cocobod have agreed to harmonise the sales system used in the world’s top two cocoa growers in bid to exert more influence on international prices, which have stayed low in recent years due to overproduction.

In Ivory Coast, CCC had been selling to exporters through a system of auctions on its platform twice a day. That practice, introduced since 2012, is gradually being abandoned.

“After a meeting with the Cocobod board in December in Abidjan, we’ve decided to merge our sales systems, favouring the Ghana one that seems more fit to market fluctuations,” a CCC source said.
In Ghana, cocoa is traded in direct sales to exporters, depending on the international price.

“We’ve already sold 400,000 tonnes through this new system on a total of 600,000 tonnes for the 2019/20 season,” the CCC source said.

Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa grower, produced 2 million tonnes last season and expects produce about 2.2 million tonnes this season, a level that would be an all-time record.

Credit: Reuters

(Reporting by Ange Aboa Editing by Juliette Jabkhiro and Edmund Blair)