Abidjan, 27 March 2015—The world’s largest cocoa producing countries should marshal their resources with a view to avoiding oversupply in the future and helping ensure equitable prices, ICCO Executive Director Dr Jean-Marc Anga told attendees at the opening of the 91st session of the International Cocoa Council in Abidjan in late March.
The meetings, kindly hosted by the Government of Côte d’Ivoire, the world’s largest cocoa producing country, were officially opened by Côte d’Ivoire’s Prime Minister, H.E. Mr. Daniel Kablan Duncan, and attended by H.E. Mr. Jean Louis Billon, Minister of Trade, Agriculture Minister H.E. Mr. Sangafowa Coulibaly, and dignitaries from several of the Organization’s 48 member countries.
The week-long session included meetings of the ICCO’s Economics and Administration and Finance Committees, as well as of the Consultative Board on the World Cocoa Economy, which includes representatives of the major processors, chocolate manufacturers, and NGOs involved in the cocoa sector.
Dr. Anga’s presentation called on the five largest producing countries to conduct an inventory of their cocoa resources, and develop national strategies in line with demand, so as to avoid a negative effect on the market and on the price that farmers receive for their cocoa.
The meetings reported on all of the ICCO’s planned projects and activities, and on a number of upcoming events, including the first official announcement of the third edition of the successful World Cocoa Conference. Dr. Anga explained that the Conference, kindly hosted by the Government of the Dominican Republic, has been rescheduled for late May 2016 at the Barceló Bávaro Convention Center, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. (The initial brochure for the Conference is available for download by clicking here).
During the meetings, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) reported on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the bank and the ICCO signed in November 2014, under which the two institutions agreed to boost the development of the cocoa sector by promoting value addition through cocoa processing, strengthen capacity in building cocoa projects and project finance, and promote the consumption of cocoa products in Africa and Asia.
Delegates at the meetings discussed issues as diverse as profitable farm models, a proposed global sustainability fund, fine or flavour cocoa and the policy implications of long-term trends in global cocoa prices. They also had presentations by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Regarding the Council’s previous decision to move the headquarters of the Organization from London to Abidjan – a final discussion on which will take place at the next meetings in September 2015 – it was decided that the Secretariat would oversee the work of an accounting firm assigned to investigate both the costs of relocation and the potential ongoing costs of the ICCO operating in the Ivorian commercial capital.
Also during the meetings, a special seminar on Voluntary Standards in Cocoa Sustainability, presented by the Geneva-based International Trade Centre, attracted a hundred participants, mostly from the Ivorian cocoa trade and industry.