Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Saturday, June 14, 2014

2nd World Cocoa Conference

9 - 13 June 2014. Amsterdam. Following on from the success of the World Cocoa Conference two years ago in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, the 2nd World Cocoa Conference took place in The Netherlands. Last time the WCC 2012 brought together over 1000 leaders in the cocoa industry from all parts of the supply chain and from all geographical regions.

This year, the Global Cocoa Agenda revisited to assess where it has come and where it is going, to better understand the main sustainability initiatives and targets as well as key cocoa trading markets. Government Ministers to Sustainability Directors were present at this industry leading event.

Production in the world’s top grower of the key chocolate ingredient is booming, but rising consumption in Asian countries and the mounting threat of El Niño later this year are combining to send prices higher, regardless.
  • Ivory Coast, the world’s No. 1 cocoa producer, will likely reap a harvest of around 1.8 million metric tons during the 2014-15 season that begins Oct. 1, an official at the country’s Agriculture Ministry said at the World Cocoa Conference in Amsterdam this week. That would mark a second year of record yields.
  • West Africa saw beneficial weather conditions for the cultivation of the cocoa crop, and the London-based International Cocoa Organization revised its forecast for the current season to a global supply surplus of 30,000 tons, from a deficit of 75,000 tons. But the ICCO expects a deficit in the 2014-15 season nonetheless.
“Everyone thinks there’s going to be a deficit, and they’re planning for it,” said Edward George, head of soft commodities research at Ecobank. “That’s why prices are so high now, because of all those bets people are making” on a shortfall.
Cocoa prices rose to the highest level in nearly three years on Thursday morning. Meanwhile, chocolate markers see demand growing. Mars Inc. expects global chocolate consumption to rise by more than 3% in the 2014-15 season, citing increasing appetite from consumers in China, India and Indonesia. Andy Harner, the company’s head of cocoa, said rising incomes, a greater exposure to Western products and a larger middle class are responsible for the growth.

13 June 2014. African cocoa traders want bigger slice of the profits: BBC's Anna Holligan reports.
Despite the demand for cocoa - expected to rise by 30% by 2020 - there are fears that there will not be extra chocolate and confectionery on retailers' shelves, unless small farmers and cocoa traders are given more power.

Chocolate is an $80bn global industry, but the bulk of the profits end up with the international corporations responsible for producing the finished products, rather than the cocoa farmers in west Africa. This is one of the issues to be discussed by Africa leaders and cocoa traders at an industry conference in Amsterdam.

Investing in West Africa: Agriculture, by Edward George - Ecobank

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