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Ivory Coast to Guarantee Cashew Floor Price, Boost Processing

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April 18 (Bloomberg) -- Ivory Coast, the biggest producer of cashew nuts in Africa, will guarantee farmers get a minimum price for their produce as the country seeks to increase their earnings and expand domestic processing of the crop.

Growers will get at least 60 percent of the world price in the 2014 season, said Vassiriki Konate, head of the national producers’ association. While Ivory Coast already offers a floor price, this season set at 200 CFA francs (40 cents) a kilogram, farmers have received lower rates of 100 to 175 francs, he said.

Slowing world economies led to rising inventories in India and Vietnam, where most of Ivory Coast’s harvest is processed, the agriculture ministry said in a statement. Farmers got 125 to 150 francs last year, while the minimum price was 310 francs.

Some farmers, as in the past, may stockpile their crops in the hope that prices will increase, Konate said.

While output rose 20 percent last year to 450,000 metric tons, less than 5 percent was processed locally, the ministry said. The West African nation aims to process 50 percent of its production by 2015 and all of it by 2020, the ministry added.

The government will also set up a regulator and improve the structure of the industry to increase the quality of production and encourage investment in processing, the ministry said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Olivier Monnier in Abidjan at omonnier@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Emily Bowers at ebowers1@bloomberg.net

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