Ivory Coast Is Said to Ditch Private Interests in Cocoa Overhaul

By Baudelaire Mieu

People work at a cocoa sorting centre, Ivory Coast. Photographer: Sia Kambou/AFP via Getty Images
People work at a cocoa sorting centre, Ivory Coast. Photographer: Sia Kambou/AFP via Getty Images

Ivory Coast is planning to remove all private representation from the board of its cocoa regulator as the world’s biggest grower prepares to coordinate the marketing of beans with neighboring Ghana, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Based on the proposal that the government intends to implement next year, cocoa grinders, exporters and lenders will no longer have delegates on the board of Le Conseil du Cafe-Cacao, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. The government is of the view that the private sector’s interests are conflicted and will obstruct reforms that are planned to harmonize sales with Ghana, said the people.

Spokesmen for the government and CCC didn’t answer calls seeking comment.

The plans follow an undertaking between Ivory Coast and Ghana, the biggest cocoa producers, on cooperation to exert more influence over the global market through the harmonization of marketing systems. Ivory Coast was forced to cut pay for its estimated 800,000 farmers by more than a third last year, following a slump in prices.

The West African neighbors operate very different marketing systems for their cocoa, which means that attempts to harmonize them would probably require that one or the other change. In Ghana, the regulator purchases all the cocoa that farmers produce, while Ivory Coast auctions the right to export beans and regulates sales. The two countries haven’t communicated proposals on how a harmonized system will operate.

Private sector stakeholders are yet to be formally informed about the proposed changes to the CCC board, said the people. The government will encourage shippers, lenders and grinders to form an independent consultative body to communicate regularly with the regulator about sector issues, said the people.

Apart from the representatives for grinders, shippers and lenders, the CCC board also have seats for delegates of President Alassane Ouattara, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, farmers and the ministries of agriculture, commerce, industry and economy and finance.

Source: www.bloomberg.com

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