Le Conseil du Cafe-Cacao, Cote d’Ivoire’s cocoa regulator, has announced the farm-gate prices for the commodity for the 2023-24 season.

As against last years 900 francs (about ₹120) a kilogram, the farmers will get 1,000 francs (₹133.33), showing an increase of 11.11 per cent. The price, which is similar to India’s minimum support price (MSP) announced by the Indian government for over two dozen crops, is the minimum price which the farmers get for the current production season. The prices could go up depending on the demand for the commodity.

Cocoa beans is used to produce chocolates, butter, and powder. The price announced today by Cote d’ivoire, the world’s largest cocoa producer with a share of over 45 per cent, is a kind of bellwether price for the cocoa prices globally and could influence the share prices of the top consumers of the produce, which is mainly used in chocolates.

The country produces 2-2.2 million tonnes of cocoa annually, with bulk of its coming from the main season October-March. It is a practice by the regulator to announce the price ahead of the commencement of the season on October 1.

Under pressure for a higher price for farmers in the backdrop of good global demand and criticism that the farmers are not getting their due, the regulator increased the prices by 11.11 per cent.

A farmer visiting the SARA annual agricultural conference, where the price was announced, said though he was happy about the price, he said more was welcome. 

India imports over one lakh tonnes of cocoa products from global majors.

After global clamour on deforestation and child labour, the government has conducted a cocoa census – Census of Coffee and Cocoa Producers and their Plantation -- in 2019. About one million small-holder farmers grow the crop in 32.20 lakh hectares. The census found out that there are 7.61 lakh children in the age group of 5-17 were involved in the cocoa farming.

Allied Market Research pegged the global cocoa products market size at $24.5 billion in 2019 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 3.1 per cent to reach $30.2 billion in 2026.

(The reporter is in Abidjan on the invitation of Le Conseil du Cafe-Cacao.)