The Ivory Coast, one of the world’s leading producers of cocoa, is set to open a cocoa storage and processing complex in the Yopougon industrial zone in the fourth quarter of 2023. The 9-hectare project, launched by Prime Minister Patrick Achi, is expected to attract an investment of around $108 million and will enable the Ivory Coast to process a portion of its cocoa harvest by cleaning, drying, grinding, roasting, and pressing the beans. The Atlantic Cocoa Corporation plant, which is set to be completed in 24 months, will have the capacity to store 140,000 tons of beans and process 64,000 tons per year, with the aim of eventually handling the entire country’s cocoa production by 2030. In addition, the project will include a training center for various professions within the sector.
The new investment aligns with the government’s strategy to increase the local industry’s installed grinding capacity to 1.1 million tons of beans by October 2023. Cocoa beans produced in the Ivory Coast account for around 40% of the country’s export earnings and 15% of its GDP. However, the country only receives around 4% of the chocolate industry’s estimated annual worth of $100 billion.
In an effort to increase their income from cocoa, the Ivory Coast and Ghana, which together supply 70% of the world’s cocoa, have established the Côte d’Ivoire Ghana Cocoa Initiative (CIGCI) with the aim of processing some of their raw cocoa locally rather than selling it to Europe. This initiative has garnered the interest of Cameroon and Nigeria, both of which are considering joining the cocoa cartel set up by the Presidents of the Ivory Coast and Ghana in order to raise cocoa prices.
In 2020, the Ivory Coast and Ghana introduced the Living Income Differential (LID), a $400 premium placed on every tonne of cocoa that is transferred directly to smallholder farmers. The chocolate companies pay the premiums to traders who purchase the beans from large collectives around the country, adding the premium to the price. However, there have been reports that some chocolate companies have found ways to avoid paying the levy despite agreeing to it. The Ivory Coast and Ghana’s boycott of an industry meeting in Brussels in October 2022 was seen as a sign that they will no longer sell cocoa at unfavorable prices.