Monday December 13, 2010
Cocoa Processors Eye Cote d'Ivoire Turmoil
Cleveland — The cocoa industry is focusing on the current political tensions in Cote d’Ivoire, the largest producer of cocoa beans in the world.
Stemming from the unsettled election results between opposition leader Alassane Ouattara and incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo who is refusing to step down, the unrest could slow the export chain for processed and unprocessed cocoa beans.
“Our operations in Cote d’Ivoire are continuing to operate as usual, although in-line with the rest of the cocoa industry, we are experiencing challenges in the delivery of beans to our processing and export facilities,” says Lori Fligge, Cargill, Inc.’s director of media relations.
Barry Callebaut AG’s Raphael Wermuth, communication manager, adds: “Our factories in Abijan and San Pedro are running and processing cocoa beans and we are shipping beans and other semi-finished products out of the country. Of course, we are closely watching the further development of the situation.”
Susan Smith, senior vice-president of strategic communications for the NCA, says as the world’s leading producer of cocoa, the country is also home to millions of cocoa farm families that depend on cocoa for their livelihoods. “While currently there is much uncertainty as to the political situation it is NCA’s hope that the disagreements will be resolved quickly and peacefully for the sake of all those who are affected.”