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Cocoa goes lower as signs supply pressure may ease

By Jane Byrne , 10-Aug-2010
Last updated on 10-Aug-2010 at 16:14 GMT

Cocoa fell to a three month low in London on signs that supplies in the world’s biggest producer countries would be boosted by the better crop husbandry initiated over the past three years.

Industry insiders also report that speculation about the potential for the upcoming harvest in the Ivory Coast saw New York cocoa futures for December delivery drop to a two week low.

Speaking to ConfectioneryNews.com last month, Laurent Pipitone, senior statistician at the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO), said that the next crop output from top cocoa producer, the Ivory Coast, would most likely alleviate recent supply pressures.

“All signs are that Ivory Coast cocoa supplies will recover from this season’s deficit situation, and while a clearer picture on this will only be available in January 2011, a surplus is expected,” he said.

In fact, ICOO director Jan Vingerhoets also predicted last month that cocoa production in the Ivory Coast would rise to 1.3 million metric tonnes in the year through September 2011 as higher prices have prompted growers to invest in their farms.

And Bloomberg reports that Ghana’s 2010-2011 cocoa harvest may be between 700,000 and 750,000 metric tonnes of beans as farmers increase use of fertilizer and disease-preventing crop spray.

The Ghana Cocoa Board, which oversees the sector, is making insecticide and fungicide available to farmers and trying to speed up the rate at which it provides them with spraying machines, notes the article.

Meanwhile, Ghana’s drive to boost cocoa production to 1m tonnes by 2012, is being frustrated by smugglers, warned the Board last week.

Up to 60 per cent of cocoa produced in the country’s Western Region was smuggled out of the country, said Abeka Ewusi, executive director of the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease Control Unit (CSSVDCU) of the Ghana Cocoa Board.

Large quantities were smuggled into Ivory Coast rather than being sold to the Ghana Cocoa Board, Ewusi told local news agency Ghana Web.

Attracted by large price differentials elsewhere, farmers have been warned that smuggled cocoa enriches the economy of only the destination countries.

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