London, 7 October 2016 – The ICCO is well on track to move to its new headquarters in the Ivorian commercial capital of Abidjan by January 2017, Executive Director Dr. Jean-Marc Anga reported to the 94th regular session of the International Cocoa Council, held in London 26 – 30 September.

Logistics related to the relocation, agreed at last year’s 92nd session, have been progressing well, Dr. Anga said, and the new building being provided by the Government of Côte d’Ivoire was almost ready for occupation by over 20 ICCO staff.

The Council meeting — graced with the presence of the Cameroon Ministers of Commerce H.E. Mr. Luc Magloire Mbaraga Atangana, and of External Relations, Minister Delegate H.E. Dr. Joseph Dion Ngute, the High Commissioner of Cameroon H.E. Mr. Nkwele Ekaney, the Ecuadorian Vice Minister of Agriculture H.E. Mr Luis Valverde and Ambassadors H.E. Mr. Hermano Telles Ribeiro of Brazil, H.E. Dr. Federico Alberto Cuello Camilo of the Dominican Republic, H.E. Mr. Carlos Abad of Ecuador, H.E. Mrs. Guisell Morales Echaverry of Nicaragua, H.E. Mr. Claudio de la Puente of Peru and H.E. Ms. Rocio Manero of Venezuela — also involved discussion of a broad range of other issues related to the Organization’s international work.

At an initial meeting of the Consultative Board on the World Cocoa Economy, members praised the ICCO’s third edition of the World Cocoa Conference (WCC3), held in Bávaro, Dominican Republic, in May, thanks to the generous hosting of the Government of the Dominican Republic. Board members began making plans for a working group to direct the content of the fourth edition, once again to combine with a Council meeting. WCC4 (including the accompanying Council session) is now scheduled to take place 22 – 28 April 2018 at the Maritim Hotel Berlin in the heart of the German capital, by the kind invitation of hosts the Government of the German Federal Republic.

Board members also recommended that the ICCO organize an International Conference on Cocoa Research, and heard a report by the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) on key performance indicators and how they could be used to monitor the success of the ongoing work towards the goals of the Global Cocoa Agenda, the ICCO’s roadmap to a sustainable cocoa sector. The Board also expressed its full support to the Government of Ecuador in its efforts to rehabilitate its cocoa sector following the devastating earthquake that struck the country in April.

After last year’s success, the September session of the Council once again incorporated the Cocoa Market Outlook Conference, a day-long meeting of sector experts whose forecasts and analysis of the cocoa and chocolate business in the current and upcoming cocoa years attracted an appreciative international audience of over 200 participants.

In reporting to the Economics Committee about the outcome of the Asian CocoaSafe project, the Secretariat was able to show that the capacity-building work, conducted in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, had achieved more than originally expected in improving stakeholder knowledge on areas such as Good Agricultural Practices and in creating a platform for exchange of information among stakeholder groups.

The Secretariat also reported on nine ICCO projects and studies under implementation and making good progress. The Committee was also updated on the current functioning and efficiency of the cocoa futures markets, following changes in the futures contracts and increased presence of speculators in commodity markets.

On the issue of selecting a new Executive Director, the Council took note of the withdrawal of two applicants out of three vying for the position, leaving only one. Giving due consideration to the possible challenges facing the Organization in its new host country and the need to provide critical continuity in the new environment, the Council decided to extend the appointment of the incumbent Executive Director, for two years, ending in September 2018.

Finally, the International Cocoa Council unanimously elected H.E. Mr. Luis Valverde (Ecuador) as its Chairman for the 2016/17 cocoa year, while Mr. Tri Purnajaya (Indonesia) was unanimously elected to serve as Vice Chairman for the year in question, beginning 1 October.

Mr. Conradin Rasi (Switzerland) was unanimously elected to serve as Chairman of the Administration and Finance Committee for the 2016/17 and 2017/18 cocoa years. H.E. Mrs. Guisell Morales-Echaverry (Nicaragua) was unanimously elected to serve as Vice-Chairman for the two years in question.

On the Economics Committee, Mr. Corneille Tabalo (Democratic Republic of Congo) was unanimously elected to serve as Chairman for 2016/17 and 2017/18. The Vice Chairman for the two years will be nominated by France.

Finally, the Board elected Ms. Cathy Pieters, Director of the Cocoa Life programme at Mondelēz International as Chairman for the 2016/17 and 2017/18 cocoa years. Dr. Victor Iyama of Nigeria was nominated as Vice Chairman.

At a special last-ever London reception held in Wembley Stadium, near the venue of the Council meetings, dignitaries, delegates and Secretariat members from the Organization’s 43-year history gathered to celebrate both the ICCO’s time in the UK and its move to Côte d’Ivoire. Executive Director Dr. Jean-Marc Anga reviewed some of the past achievements and outstanding personnel involved with the Organization and looked forward to the ambitious plans that the ICCO has for its tenure in Abidjan beginning next year.

The 95th regular session of the International Cocoa Council and subsidiary bodies is set for 24 – 28 April 2017 in Abidjan at a venue to be confirmed.

Below: Past and present members of the ICCO Secretariat at the final London reception for the Organization held at Wembley Stadium, 28 September 2016

London, 27 September 2016 The ICCO’s second Cocoa Market Outlook Conference today brought over 200 delegates to London to hear the latest analysis and forecasts for the upcoming cocoa season from a panel of experts from across the sector and the globe.

After a welcome from Executive Director Dr. Jean-Marc Anga, and an introduction from moderator Ms. Emiko Terazono of the Financial Times, the international audience at the day-long Conference heard an overview presentation on the global prospects for cocoa supply and demand from ICCO Director of Economics and Statistics Mr. Laurent Pipitone.

Mr. Laurent Souron, Head of Cocoa Research at Armajaro Research, looked in detail at the effects on current West African production of weather patterns including El Niño and the harmattan winds.

From West African financial institution Ecobank, Head of Group Research Dr. Edward George examined the prospects for a possible rebound of cocoa production in West Africa, while Deputy Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board Dr. Francis K. Oppongexplained his government’s policies aimed at accelerating growth in cocoa output and addressing a number of issues that affect that process.

Rounding off the morning session, cocoa trader Mr. Max Goettler of Cocoanect in Amsterdam reported on current increasing trend in Latin American cocoa production, and said that Ecuador and Peru, the two countries with the strongest growth, could well represent the solution to the current structural deficit in the market.

At a lively panel session featuring all of the morning’s presenters, the engaged audience raised questions touching on the professionalism of cocoa farmers, different models of marketing cocoa in different origins, the effects of climate change on production and whether or not origin grinding actually adds value, among many other subjects.

After lunch, the topics moved onto industry’s quality requirements and increasing regulatory pressure, with Dr. Michelle End, Cocoa Research Manager at the UK’s Cocoa Research Association, reviewing the recently updated guidelines for cocoa quality from the European cocoa processors and chocolate makers.

Ms. Ann Duponcheel, Global Trade & Regulatory Affairs Manager at Barry Callebaut, speaking on behalf of the European Cocoa Association, reviewed recent and upcoming regulatory changes and their challenges in relation to cocoa production. She also considered the post-Brexit role of the UK government, in taking on the responsibility for both trade agreements and regulations, under which both cocoa and its products would in future be imported into Britain.

As the focus moved onto the market for semi-finished products, Mr. Gerard Stapleton, Head of Coffee, Cocoa and Natural Rubber Research at LMC International, outlined the recent trends and future outlook in the global market for cocoa products including cocoa butter and powder. Mr. Carlos Mera Arzeno, Senior Commodity Risk Analyst with Rabobank charted the various mechanisms in place for coping with the shifting tides of the cocoa grinding industry.

Finally, moving onto the chocolate sector and the recipe for its growth, Mr. Alan Rownan, Ethical Labels Analyst with Euromonitor International, looked at the problems of affordability of chocolate in many markets, and the effect of labels and the presentation of sustainability issues on chocolate products as a spur to consumption.

After the Conference, the delegates networked at a special reception hosted by the ICCO’s Executive Director, and the consensus appeared to be that the Conference had been very worthwhile in supporting the ICCO’s aim of increasing transparency in the market.

The 2016 Cocoa Market Outlook Conference was kindly sponsored by the CME Group.

The presentations from the Conference are now available to download by clicking here.

Click here for a downloadable gallery of images from the Conference.

Pictured above: Panel session at the Cocoa Market Outlook Conference 2016 (l-r): Moderator Emiko Terazono with presenters Max Goettler, Laurent Souron, Dr. Edward George, Dr. Francis Oppong and Laurent Pipitone

To download the presentations from the Cocoa Market Outlook Conference 2016, please click on the presenter names below.

Laurent Pipitone, ICCO


Laurent Souron, Armajaro Research


Edward George, Ecobank


Francis K Oppong, Ghana Cocoa Board


Max Goettler, Cocoanect


Michelle End, Cocoa Research Association


Ann Duponcheel, Barry Callebaut


Gerard Stapleton, LMC International


Carlos Mera Arzeno, Rabobank


Alan Rownan, Euromonitor International


Fielding questions at the morning panel session (l-r): moderator Emiko Terazono, Max Goettler, Laurent Souron, Dr. Edward George, Dr. Francis Oppong and Laurent Pipitone