Ivory Coast Cocoa Harvest Said Likely to Decline for Second Year

  • World No. 1 producer’s crop seen at 1.65 million tons
  • Dry winds over West Africa have damaged crop quality

The 2016-17 cocoa harvest in Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer of the beans, will probably decline for a second year.

The country will probably produce 1.65 million metric tons of beans in the season that starts Oct. 1, according to a person familiar with government forecasts who isn’t authorized to speak publicly. The main crop, which runs from October to March, is estimated at 1.2 million tons while the mid-crop reaped from April to September is seen at 450,000 tons. The nation probably produced about 1.7 million tons in the 2016 season compared with a record 1.8 million tons in the preceding 12 months.

This season’s Harmattan -- dry winds that blow over West Africa from the Sahara desert -- was the worst in three decades, damaging crop quality. That led traders including Cargill Inc., Olam International Ltd., Sucres et Denrees SA and Armajaro to forecast large shortages in the year ending in September. Bean deliveries to ports in Ivory Coast in the last three months of the year are expected to be about 750,000 tons, 13 percent less than in 2015.

The media office at state-run regulator Coffee-Cocoa Council didn’t answer calls for comment. The CCC plans to auction 1.1 million tons of the chocolate-making beans via a forward-selling system in the 2017 season, according to the person. The regulator has sold 1.7 million tons forward in 2016.

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