London, 28 February 2017–The International Cocoa Organization today releases its first forecasts for the 2016/2017 cocoa year and revised estimates of world production, grindings and stocks of cocoa beans for 2015/2016, as summarized below. The data published in Issue No. 1 – Volume XLIII – Cocoa year 2016/2017 of the Quarterly Bulletin of Cocoa Statistics reflect the most recent information available to the Secretariat as at the middle of February 2017.

Summary of forecasts and revised estimates


Cocoa year
2015/2016 2016/2017 Year-on-year change
Previous estimates a/ Revised estimates Forecasts
(thousand tonnes) (Per cent)
World production 4 031 3 965
4 552
+ 587 + 14.8%
World grindings 4 141 4 121
4 242 + 121  + 2.9%
Surplus/deficit b/ – 150 – 196
+ 264
End-of-season stocks 1 447 1 401
1 665
+ 264 – 18.8%
Stocks/Grindings ratio 34.9% 34.0% 39.3%

a/   Estimates published in Quarterly Bulletin of Cocoa Statistics, Vol. XLII – No. 4 – Cocoa year 2015/2016
b/   Surplus/deficit: Net world crop (gross crop adjusted for loss in weight) minus grindings
Totals may differ due to rounding.

This issue of the Bulletin contains the Secretariat’s first forecasts for the 2016/2017 cocoa year, as well as data for the past four years of production and grindings of cocoa beans, detailed by country. The main features of the global cocoa market are illustrated in colour charts. In addition, the Bulletinincludes comments on crop and demand prospects in the leading countries for the current season, and a review of price developments on international markets for cocoa beans during the October-December quarter of 2016.

Statistical information on trade in cocoa beans, cocoa products and chocolate, by country and by region, published in this edition, covers annual data from 2012/2013 to 2014/2015 and quarterly statistics for the period October-December 2014 to April-June 2016. Details of origin of imports and destination of exports for leading cocoa importing countries are also provided. Historical statistics on cocoa trade and consumption, by country and by region, for the period 2006/2007 to 2014/2015 are presented for reference.

Copies of the Quarterly Bulletin of Cocoa Statistics, including Microsoft Excel files and Adobe PDF format, can be ordered by completing and returning this form, or from the ICCO Secretariat at the address below:

International Cocoa Organization
06 P.O. Box 6891
Abidjan 06
Côte d’Ivoire

Tel:              +225 22 51 49 50/51
Fax:             +225 22 51 49 79
E-mail: or

Is market concentration among large cocoa firms responsible for the widespread poverty among cocoa farmers? Probably not, according to a new report just published by SEO Amsterdam Economics (

While market concentration in the sector has increased, particularly among cocoa processors, the report does not find evidence that this concentration is excessive, or that market power is being abused to keep prices artificially low.

Instead, they argue that there are two other key reasons why most cocoa farmers live in extreme poverty. The first is the fact that the productivity of cocoa farmers is very low, particularly in West Africa. The second is that there are many cocoa farmers without realistic alternative income options. As a result, these farmers continue to supply cocoa even at very low prices.

Training programmes aimed at raising productivity can help individual cocoa farmers produce more cocoa and thereby earn a better income. However, the SEO Amsterdam Economics report argues that this cannot be a sustainable solution for all farmers, because if the supply of cocoa rises faster than demand, this will lower the cocoa price even further.

The best way to get farmers out of poverty is through a ‘dual transition’ whereby some farmers invest in sustainably raising their cocoa productivity, while many other cocoa farmers will develop additional or alternative sources of income. Such a transition requires significant improvements in farmers’ access to information, training, infrastructure, and finance. This will make them less dependent on cocoa and will improve their bargaining position.

The report does not find evidence that a regulated price mechanism in producing countries leads to higher incomes for cocoa farmers than a liberalised price system. One key reason why the average farm-gate price is lower in regulated countries is that national cocoa boards take a high percentage out of cocoa export revenues, in some cases more than 50 percent. While part of these cocoa taxes are reinvested in the sector and in general public goods, this has not yet resulted in significantly higher productivity for cocoa farmers in these countries. One of the problems here appears to be the lack of transparency and efficiency of the allocated public reinvestments (e.g. in input distribution).

In countries with liberalised cocoa sectors (particularly Cameroon and Nigeria), there is some scope to raise farm-gate prices through increasing cocoa farmers’ bargaining power, including through stronger farmer organizations, as well as through increasing opportunities for earning alternative income options. As the case of Indonesia illustrates, having more realistic alternatives means that farmers can opt out of cocoa, which likely is one of the reasons why cocoa prices in Indonesia are higher (another reason is that the Indonesian tax system stimulates local cocoa processing).

In countries with regulated cocoa sectors (Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire), the main way to raise cocoa prices and yields is through improving the transparency, efficiency and effectiveness of the regulated system. One advantage of the regulated price system is that this provides some protection to cocoa farmers. Nevertheless, there is anecdotal evidence that farmers may not always receive the regulated price, and the regulated price is substantially lower than in liberalised countries. The report concludes, therefore, that regulated countries should increase transparency about the way regulated prices and cocoa taxes are determined, and about the way these cocoa tax revenues are spent. Finally, there might be scope to improve the quality of cocoa beans, and therefore potentially the price paid for these beans, through more effective public investments and incentives to produce higher quality cocoa.

Click here to access the full report, Market Concentration and Price Formation in the Global Cocoa Value Chain