Photographer: ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP via Getty Images

Ivory Coast Cocoa Exporters Said to Reject Some Beans on Quality

  • At least four firms reject beans at ports in past weeks
  • Two of them consider halting purchases until next month

At least four cocoa exporters in Ivory Coast rejected beans arriving at port warehouses in the past several weeks because of quality issues, and two of them are considering halting purchases until the new harvest in April.

The cocoa was turned away because of the small size of the beans and elevated levels of free fatty acid, which diminishes the quality, according to the shippers, who asked not to be identified because they’re not allowed to speak publicly. Two of them said they’ve rejected about half of deliveries, but didn’t disclose a tonnage amount.

Two of the exporters said they may halt purchases in the world’s biggest producer until the smaller of two harvests, known as the mid-crop, begins next month. The declining quality of beans from the last crop may be because they were stored away from ports for longer than usual in the hope of higher prices, one of the companies said.

Beans have piled up as a slump in global prices meant some local buyers defaulted on export contracts. Futures traded in London plunged by about a third since reaching a six-year high in July.

Mariam Dagnogo, a spokeswoman for regulator Le Conseil du Cafe-Cacao, declined to comment.

Ivory Coast’s crop may jump more than 20 percent to 1.88 million metric tons this season, according to Tropical Research Services, which advises hedge funds.