By David John Schmidt
A recent announcement shows that the price globally for cocoa has degenerated and is thus creating a crisis in the Ivory Coast. The Ivory Coast is the world’s largest producer for the cherished bean that creates the savory treat known as chocolate. Likewise, the Ivory Coast houses roughly a whopping six million people, which a quarter (1,500,000) depend on the crop for their financial stability. In addition, these cocoa farmers are experiencing the effects of a “devastating cocoa crisis brought on by a range of factors that are beyond their control” (NPR). Some of those aspects are due to a decline on the price of the cocoa bean in the New York Stock exchange. Another key aspect is that an increase in rainfall has created a bumper crop and a waning of the global craving for chocolate. Other key aspects that have led to the dip in the price for cocoa are: price fixing, gossip, politics and present disposition fluctuations of hedge funds.
The decline is causing the Ivory Coast cocoa farmers to fall into debt both generally speaking, and with their children’s schools. Furthermore, last October the Ivorian Government initiated the national worth for this year’s harvest, which was 1,100 CFA Francs (approx. $ 1.80) per kilo. This projection was rather high but it was based from the predicted international demand and a national census of budding cocoa pods. Yet, many Ivory Coast cocoa farmers are stating that wholesalers are not making any offers that are even close to that projection.
Numerous economists have voiced that the “cocoa crisis affects the entire country’s economy” (NPR). Moreover, a staggering 30% of the country’s debt is in dollar amounts, therefore many have voiced that if the cocoa crisis remains, then the country can expect an effect on its financial capacity. Consequently, many of the processing plants in the city have shut down, but within these ports dozens of trucks were found towing fermented cocoa, which, economically speaking, is inflicting more financial wounds to the Ivory Coast and its peoples. Yet, many plants are reluctant to pay the astronomical prices set by the Federal Government and as it fails to give the plants a large enough profit margin.
Thus, because of the crisis many cocoa farmers are destabilizing the government set price of cocoa, which is illegal to do. Ff a farmer is caught doing so, he or she would have their license rescinded. Yet, the farmers are taking the chance because they want to be able to feed their families.