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Ivory Coast Cocoa Purchases Said to Drop 7.5% in First 3 Months

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March 12 (Bloomberg) -- Purchases of cocoa beans in Ivory Coast, the biggest producer, fell 7.5 percent in the first three months of the 2012-13 season, according to a document from the ministries of finance and agriculture.

Cocoa deliveries to ports from farms in the country’s interior amounted to 649,249 metric tons in the period from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, according to the document, sent to Bloomberg by a finance ministry official who asked not to be identified because the figures aren’t public yet. That compares with 702,127 tons a year earlier.

Exports of cocoa beans increased 4.1 percent to 503,946 tons in the period, the document showed. Farm-gate prices, set this season at 725 CFA francs ($1.44) a kilogram (2.2 pounds), gained 3.6 percent from an average of 700 francs a year earlier, according to the document. Cocoa producers’ revenue declined to 470.7 billion CFA francs from 491.5 billion francs a year earlier, the document showed.

To contact the reporters on this story: Olivier Monnier in Abidjan at omonnier@bloomberg.net; Baudelaire Mieu in Abidjan at bmieu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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