Cote d’Ivoire, the world’s leading producer and exporter of cocoa, is eager to venture into the Indian market for the direct promotion of cocoa and cocoa-derived products. The regulatory body for this sector is scheduled to visit India next month to explore these opportunities.
The Cocoa regulatory authority, Le Conseil du Cafe-Cacao, is not only seeking market access for cocoa products in India but is also actively seeking investors and partnership opportunities for cocoa processing within Cote d’Ivoire. Presently, a significant portion of the cocoa produced in Cote d’Ivoire, also known as Ivory Coast in West Africa, is distributed through intermediaries and third parties, resulting in reduced returns for farmers.
“Until now, our colonisers (France) built a system of dependency on Europe for cocoa trade. But we are open to selling our products to other countries. We are ready to sell directly to Indian manufacturers,” Cocoa regulator Le Conseil di Cafe-Cacao Managing Director Yves Brahima Kone said in an interview.
”We are going to India in November and meet potential partners and government leaders to explore direct marketing of cocoa. We will be able to sell cocoa products or semi-finished products,” he said.
When questioned about the possibility of discussing the substantial import duties on cocoa, the regulatory authority confirmed that it is indeed one of the topics scheduled for discussion.
“It is going to be a win-win situation for both sides,” he said.
The regulator noted that the rising consumption of cocoa products in India will play a pivotal role in shaping the trade strategy during discussions with Indian leaders. This marks the first visit by the cocoa regulatory authority from Cote d’Ivoire to India, a country that imports approximately 1 lakh tonne of cocoa products, with the aim of promoting the cocoa trade.
Currently, Cote d’Ivoire is placing a stronger emphasis on the processing and transformation of cocoa into products such as cocoa powder and cocoa butter, among others. This strategic shift is aimed at ensuring better returns for farmers and expanding the cocoa economy. To this end, Cote d’Ivoire has set a yearly domestic production cap at 2.5 million tonnes.
“We are promoting processing of the commodity (as value addition will get us more income) before selling it. We are looking for partnerships and setting up processing facilities,” said Coulibaly Siaka Minayaha, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Le Conseil du Cafe-Cacao.
He mentioned that the nation’s goal for the current year is to attain a processing level of 49 percent. In order to promote cocoa processing, the regulatory authority has implemented various measures to organize farmers and create cooperatives for small-scale growers, he further explained.
The regulatory authority also mentioned that the country is currently in the process of aligning with European standards concerning sustainability, deforestation, and child labor. Michel Arrion, the Executive Director of the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), emphasized that India is an emerging market for cocoa consumption, primarily used in chocolate manufacturing, and should consider becoming a member of this inter-governmental body.
Out of the global cocoa production totaling 5 million tonnes, Cote d’Ivoire alone annually produces about 2-2.5 million tonnes and exports nearly the entire quantity, including value-added products like cocoa butter. Cote d’Ivoire, situated in West Africa, conducts cocoa harvesting twice a year, with the first crop being harvested from October to March, and the second from April to September.