I Coast convicts 8 for violating cocoa price
26 July 2013, 16:06
Abidjan - Eight people have been convicted in Ivory Coast,
the world's top cocoa grower, of buying cocoa beans below the
government-guaranteed price during the current mid-crop harvest, the Coffee and
Cocoa Council said.
Ivory Coast introduced a minimum price for farmers at the
beginning of the 2012/13 season, ending more than a decade of sector
liberalisation in an effort to raise farmer incomes and encourage reinvestment
in ageing plantations.
The CCC marketing board set a farmgate price of 725 CFA
francs ($1.46) per kg for the October-to-March main crop, which was largely
respected by the merchants.
However, many have ignored its price of 700 CFA francs/kg
announced for the April-to-September mid-crop beans, farmers say.
"The [CCC] has apprehended a certain number of
operators ... In total, we count eight cases of convictions for the non-respect
of the minimum guaranteed price," the marketing board said in a statement.
Those convicted received jail sentences ranging from 10 days
to six months. Two more cases are pending, including one for smuggling.
Despite farmers' assertions that price violations by buyers
have increased, the announced figures represent a decrease in successful
prosecutions during the mid-crop.
Courts convicted 14 buyers during the cocoa main crop, the
CCC told reporters in April.