To ease your site search, article categories are at bottom of page.

February 21, 2011

Ivorian cocoa producers protest against export ban

by Ange Aboa

Around 1,000 Ivorian cocoa farmers and cooperative managers gathered inside the regulatory body in Abidjan on February 16 to protest against a cocoa export ban many fear will ruin the industry.

The ban imposed by presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara aims to starve his rival Laurent Gbagbo of funds, and is backed by Western powers and African leaders who see Ouattara as president-elect, despite Gbagbo's refusal to step down after a disputed November 28 poll.

"Politics is not our concern, but we do not agree with this embargo," said Joseph Kouame, the head of the cocoa growers union of the southwestern Sassandra region, at the event at the cocoa regulating body. "We ask the farmers to rise up and say 'no'."

Ivory Coast cocoa exporters said they feared for their future following reports Ouattara would extend a one-month cocoa export ban if his rival refused to leave power.

Farmgate prices are around half what they were before the crisis, despite one-year highs in London prices, as farmers with inadequate stocking capacity are desperate to sell but can't.

"The exporters are profiting from the situation by proposing very low prices," said cooperative manager Francis Atse Osei. "We have to stop this. We need a solution that will permit growers to save the 2011 harvest."

The pro-Gbagbo cocoa administration has threatened exporters with sanctions if they do not export and has said they must pay taxes by the end of March for cocoa already registered. But even if they wanted to export, European Union sanctions on Gbagbo's administration, including port administrators, means there is a shortage of ships docking at Abidjan or San Pedro.

"The EU has forbidden ships to come to Ivory Coast as part of sanctions, but this will hurt the planters the most. How does that go with the EU's strategy to fight poverty it champions?" said Vincent Sea, president of the Coffee and Cocoa Observatory.

The EU and Ouattara have said the embargo is necessary to financially squeeze out Gbagbo's "illegitimate government."

Adding to the problems, the country is also in a liquidity squeeze after Gbagbo sent soldiers to seize the Abidjan office of West Africa's central bank in retaliation for its cutting off his access to state funds.

Two international banks -- BNP Paribas and Citibank -- involved in cocoa finance have already shut.

Reuters

Article Categories

AGRA agribusiness agrochemicals agroforestry aid Algeria aloe vera Angola aquaculture banana barley beans beef bees Benin biodiesel biodiversity biof biofuel biosafety biotechnology Botswana Brazil Burkina Faso Burundi CAADP Cameroon capacity building cashew cassava cattle Central African Republic cereals certification CGIAR Chad China CIMMYT climate change cocoa coffee COMESA commercial farming Congo Republic conservation agriculture cotton cow pea dairy desertification development disease diversification DRCongo drought ECOWAS Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia EU EUREPGAP events/meetings expo exports fa fair trade FAO fertilizer finance fisheries floods flowers food security fruit Gabon Gambia gender issues Ghana GM crops grain green revolution groundnuts Guinea Bissau Guinea Conakry HIV/AIDS honey hoodia horticulture hydroponics ICIPE ICRAF ICRISAT IFAD IITA imports India infrastructure innovation inputs investment irrigation Ivory Coast jatropha kenaf keny Kenya khat land deals land management land reform Lesotho Liberia Libya livestock macadamia Madagascar maiz maize Malawi Mali mango marijuana markets Mauritania Mauritius mechanization millet Morocco Mozambique mushroom Namibia NEPAD Niger Nigeria organic agriculture palm oil pastoralism pea pest control pesticides pineapple plantain policy issues potato poultry processing productivity Project pyrethrum rai rain reforestation research rice rivers rubber Rwanda SADC Sao Tome and Principe seed seeds Senegal sesame Seychelles shea butter Sierra Leone sisal soil erosion soil fertility Somalia sorghum South Africa South Sudan Southern Africa spices standards subsidies Sudan sugar sugar cane sustainable farming Swaziland sweet potato Tanzania tariffs tea tef tobacco Togo tomato trade training Tunisia Uganda UNCTAD urban farming value addition value-addition vanilla vegetables water management weeds West Africa wheat World Bank WTO yam Zambia Zanzibar zero tillage Zimbabwe

  © 2007 Africa News Network design by Ourblogtemplates.com

Back to TOP