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Ivory Coast hikes cacao minimum price by 21 percent

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FILE PHOTO: A worker holds cocoa beans at export firm SAF CACAO in San-Pedro, Ivory Coast, January 29, 2016. REUTERS/THIERRY GOUEGNON/FILE PHOTO

Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cacao exporter, said Thursday it would hike the guaranteed minimum price for farmers by 21 percent for the 2020-2021 growing season.

The announcement was made by President Alassane Ouattara at the start of an annual trade fair for the cacao industry, the West African country’s biggest economic sector.

“We have decided to increase the price from 825 to 1,000 CFA francs (from $1.48 to $1.79) a kilo,” he said to applause from cacao farmers in the capital Yamoussoukro.

The price floor is set once a year.

The announcement comes in the run-up to a presidential election on October 31 in which Ouattara is controversially seeking a third term in office.

Critics accuse him of tweaking the constitution in order to reset the two-term presidential limit of tenure back to zero.

Around 15 people were killed in clashes in August, and the opposition has called on the public to carry out “civil disobedience.”

Ivory Coast produces more than 40 percent of the world’s cacao — the raw ingredient for chocolate, grown from cocoa beans.

The 2020-21 harvest in Ivory Coast is likely to be the same as in 2019-21, at around 2.1 million tonnes, according to the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO), an estimate that depends on political calm.

Cacao accounts for between 10 and 15 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and nearly 40 percent of its export revenue, according to the World Bank.

At least five million people, or about a fifth of the population, depend on the sector for work.


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