Alistair Dawber: Conflict in Abidjan could destabilise cocoa market

Share
Related Topics

As laurent Gbagbo clings on to power in Abidjan, one unforeseen consequence of the post-election crisis in Ivory Coast may be a surge in the price of chocolate.

The West African country produces about 40 per cent of the world's raw cocoa – one of the key ingredients in chocolate. As the political situation worsens, the price of cocoa has spiked because commodity traders worry there could be a supply shortage.

Before last month's disputed elections prompted a stand-off between President Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara, whom the international community recognises as having won the vote, the price of cocoa had bucked the upwards trend of other commodities in the previous 12 months and fell from more than $3,000 (£1,950) per ton to a little more than $2,600.

But the belligerence of the two protagonists with designs on the Ivorian presidency since the vote on 28 November has unsettled the $5.1bn global cocoa market, leading to a jump of more than 12 per cent in its price, pushing it back up above the $3,000-a-ton mark in recent days.

About 8 per cent of the average chocolate bar is made up of cocoa, and with manufacturers and retailers' balance sheets still affected by the economic downturn, there is a strong chance these extra costs will be passed on to the consumer. If the crisis in Ivory Coast continues – or gets worse as many fear it will – the cost of chocolate next Christmas could be significantly higher.

It is not just consumers who will suffer if Ivory Coast's cocoa exports are hampered by a prolonged conflict. With agricultural exports contributing more than a quarter of the country's GDP, trade sanctions on Abidjan are likely to make life more difficult for many of the country's farmers, many of whom make up much of the 40 per cent of Ivorians who already live below the poverty line.

A cocoa bush takes three years to mature and without a functioning government to administer agricultural spending, a recovery for Ivory Coast's economy could take even longer to realise.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Consultant - Bristol - Computer Futures - £18-25k

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Real Staffing - Leeds - £18k+

£18000 - £27000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester - Progressive Rec.

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Reeva Steenkamp is  

Since Reeva Steenkamp's death, 243 women have been killed by male violence in the UK alone

Sian Norris
Actor Brad Pitt  

The over-50s have the real voting and spending power — so why are we so obsessed with youth?

Stefano Hatfield
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London