Tracking cocoa processing for major West African origins
Never shying from ambitious goals, Ghana has in the past stated that it hopes to process half of its beans domestically, providing employment and leading to an overall enhancement of sustainability by capturing value-added margins. In theory, Ghana has the processing capacity to do so now. Our own estimates had suggested that as much as 30 percent of Ghana’s 2017/18 bean production would be processed in-country.
However, at least one industry source is suggesting that about 80 percent of the crop was processed abroad and only 20 percent processed locally, equivalent to less than 200,000 MT of the whole 2017/18 crop, currently estimated to be above 900,000 MT. These are all estimates, but the upshot is that processing-capacity utilization was likely between 40 and 50 percent in the season ending last month despite policies intended to encourage or facilitate domestic processing.
In Ivory Coast, multiple major cocoa players have shown interest in buying up assets of local processor SAFCacao, facing liquidation. Despite earlier reports, Ivory Coast authorized 68 export licenses this season vs. 72 licenses granted last season, far from the more dramatic cuts expected based on earlier reporting. The economically important cocoa sector inevitably becomes embroiled in political posturing and polemics—replete with charges of corruption and mismanagement and of rosy claims for the future.
Annual cocoa grind by region
Source: ICCO, trade sources, McKeany-Flavell
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