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January 26, 2009

Ivory Coast launches plan to improve cocoa quality

The world's top cocoa producer Ivory Coast Friday launched a programme to fight a steady fall in the quality of its main export earner.

"We have to move fast," said Gilbert Anoh N'Guessan, the president of a management committee to oversee cocoa operation, adding that in the early part of the decade, "only five percent of the produce" did not respond to quality norms. It was currently 17 percent, he said.

The initiative will see the state spending between three and 4.5 million euros (four to six million dollars) in the next 10 to 15 years to improve quality, including better ways of drying the bean and fighting soil degradation.

Ivory Coast accounts for some 40 percent of world cocoa production but faces a stiff challenge from its neighbour Ghana.

The west African nation was split in half following a failed rebellion, which hit cocoa production and trade.


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