By Todd Patrick :: November 17, 2017
Recently cocoa has been featured in a number of news stories regarding price, production and environmental impact. As CFI works diligently to ensure the freshness and quality of our cargo, we would like to offer some guidance on the current news about this wildly popular confection.
An invasive plant, itchweed, has been found in shipments of cocoa from Ecuador, causing entire batches to be refused entry and either returned or destroyed. Rejections are on the rise this year as more shipments are found to contain the weed, which is illegal to both import and transport. While cocoa exporters in Guayaquil state there is little danger in the plant and its inclusion in cocoa bean shipments, they have declined to comment on the number of US shipments that have been refused or redirected to other markets, including Canada.
One week after the seizure Reuters advised that cocoa prices are on the rise as supply appears to be waning against an increased demand. Upon reports of a smaller crop of cocoa coming from the Ivory Coast, price increases were further supported. However, news isn’t all bad, considering the price is only up 0.5% and the Ivory Coast along with Ghana have started making preparations for a stockpile of the crop once harvests are complete to offset the seasons when cocoa trees rest and also bolster their position as the top cocoa producers in the world.
QUALITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
These stories come hot on the heels of a UK Guardian article regarding the deforestation caused by cocoa production needs, likely causing the pricing issue to be somewhat inflated. Cameroon, the fifth largest producer of cocoa, is working to encourage the growers to produce a better quality product after 90% of this year’s crop was Grade 2 of 3 levels. Large dryers are being distributed to prevent mustiness and incentives are being offered to the growers of the best quality.