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Ivory Coast to Implement Cocoa Reforms Before End of Year

Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa producer, will implement reforms including a plan to change how farmers are paid for the chocolate ingredient, before the end of the year, said Finance Minister Charles Koffi Diby.

The industry reforms will allow Ivory Coast to reach the so-called completion point in the International Monetary Fund and World Bank’s Heavily Indebted Poor Countries’ debt-relief program, Diby told reporters today in Abidjan, the commercial capital.

Ivory Coast’s government approved the changes Nov. 2 in an attempt to give the West African nation more control over the world market. Farmers will be given a guaranteed minimum price for their beans, equal to as much as 60 percent of international prices, said government spokesman Bruno Kone.

The Washington-based IMF, which made reforming the cocoa industry one of the stipulations to attaining debt relief, is “studying” the planned changes, said Wayne Camard, the fund’s representative.

“In this reform, there’s nothing prejudicial for the cocoa producers,” he said. Ivory Coast qualified for $3 billion in debt relief under the IMF’s program in March 2009, according to the lender’s website.

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