Fireside chat with cocoa bosses from West Africa gets heated as they warn markets will have to pay

One of the themes of Amsterdam Cocoa Week was ‘scanning the room,’ a kind of well-being exercise to check in with fellow attendees, to see who was here, who was not, who should be, was everyone OK, etc. Had this kind of exercise been performed when the WCF PM last convened in October 2022, then the absence of Koné and Aidoo would have been noted as the two regulators boycotted the event due to an ongoing row with the chocolate industry on farmer income.

It was left to the diplomatic Michel Arrion, chief executive of the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) and moderator of this panel, to smooth the way back to more cordial discussions with the two heads of the most prominent cocoa regulators in the world. He reminded attendees that they account for two-thirds of all global production and announced how pleased he was to welcome the two cocoa heavyweights back onto the sofa.

I’ve always said that we have a responsibility to cover the market’s needs. We feel a shared responsibility. So, we will take steps to bring the necessary supplies to the market — Yves Brahima Koné, Cote d’Ivoire’s Coffee & Cocoa Council director general,

Cocoa exports

Arrion began with the burning question in the room – the depleted global cocoa production levels and low bean exports from both countries over the past 18 months or so. Climate change and the environment were factors, but were there other mitigating factors for the shortfall in outputs?

Aidoo said that the deficit in Ghana has undoubtedly been influenced by climate change and the El Nino effect,​ particularly in the last three years.