Cocoa Facing “Boom And Bust”

Small quality cocoa producers like Grenada stand to benefit from the misfortune of West African states which produce massive amount of cocoa for the international market, but which might have to come up with a strategy to combat the effects of Ebola.

Fears are growing that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa could spread to the Ivory Coast and Ghana, where 60% of the world’s cocoa is farmed, causing prices to surge and then crash. The fear among international commodity buyers is that the outbreak of the deadly disease, which has killed 4,000 people in affected West African states, could cause yet another boom and bust for the cocoa industry.

“The effect of Ebola on the economies of the West Africa states is really unfortunate. As you know they are a big producer of cocoa. Obviously there is a potential for Grenada and other smaller producers to benefit, but our levels of production will never be able to fill the void of the larger West African producers,” said Hamlet Mark, Senior Communications Adviser in the Office of the Prime Minister.

“There could potentially be a shortage, and in theory places like Grenada will be able to fetch higher prices, but Grenada already produces a premium brand of organic cocoa that is already in high demand,” said Mark.

Cocoa prices have risen 16% in the last 12 months, and the average price of cocoa in September was up by 30% on same period for 2013.

By Linda Straker

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