The 1996/97 cocoa crop in Cote d'Ivoire remains unchanged from the 1.10-million-ton estimate released in March. However, the U.S. agricultural attache in Abidjan has revised the main crop estimate from 900,000 tons to 950,000 tons and lowered the mid-crop estimate from 200,000 tons to 150,000 tons. The revision for the main crop was based on actual cocoa deliveries to processors. The mid-crop estimate was revised downward because of dry weather in February that adversely affected crop flowering and development in most producing areas. The total export forecast for cocoa beans and products for 1996/97 is unaffected by this change and remains at 1.21 million tons.
The French chocolate group, CEMOI, is building a cocoa processing factory in Cote d'Ivoire. The factory is scheduled to open this October. The factory will be able to process 60,000 tons--with the capability to expand to 120,000 tons--of cocoa beans a year. This factory expands Cote d'Ivoire's domestic capacity and is in line with that country's plans to process 50 percent of its cocoa crop, in country, by the year 2000.
Ghana's cocoa production estimate for 1996/97 has been lowered
to 350,000 tons, down from 390,000 tons reported earlier. All of
the drop in 1996/97 is attributed to the main crop. In addition,
the 1995/96 production number was revised to 403,000 tons, down
17,000 tons from the earlier estimate, as a result of a decrease
in the mid-crop production estimate. Total cocoa bean exports for
1995/96 and 1996/97 were reduced 17,000 tons and 40,000 tons,
respectively, as a result of reduced supplies.
U.S. cocoa grind for the first quarter of 1997 was reported by
the Chocolate Manufacturers Association (CMA) at 95,435 tons, up
nearly 21 percent from the same period a year ago. The quantity
of liquor melted was reported at 2,103 tons, down 4 percent from
January-March 1996. Butter melted also dropped from the 1996
period to 15,298 tons.
The first quarter grind for the United Kingdom was reported at
44,049 tons compared with 50,500 tons in the same period in 1996.
Sources report that the lower grind may be the result of lower
cocoa butter prices. As a result, processors only grind what they
need and import the rest of their needs.
Grind during the January-March 1997 in the Netherlands was up
slightly--1.5 percent--from 1996's level. Grind levels were
reported at 102,338 tons.
Germany's grind for the first quarter of 1997 was reported by
the German Confectionery Industry at 61,379 tons. This represents
a decline of nearly 12 percent from the previous year. Reports
indicate that this reduction is the result of processing shifts
within Europe. Processing plants in Berlin have been closed and
capacity moved to Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Cocoa bean
imports in 1996 were 303,975 tons compared with 285,097 tons in
Brazil is having to import cocoa beans because of a shortfall
in domestic supplies. According to sources, cocoa beans from
Indonesia have already arrived in Brazil. Sources estimate
imports at 15,000 tons. The Agriculture Ministry approved the
import of cocoa beans from Indonesia. Indonesia is the only
producing country that has been certified as "free of
risk". The cocoa beans are being imported under the drawback
basis. This allows the cocoa beans to be imported duty free, as
long as there are exports of an equivalent amount of products.
Chocolate maker, and the world's largest cocoa bean processor,
Barry Callebaut said it plans to open a chocolate college in
Lodz, Poland this year. Plans call for educating people on how to
use chocolate with the hopes of increasing chocolate consumption
in that region. Barry Callebaut was formed by a merger of
France's Cacao Barry SA and Swiss Callebaut AG. Barry Callebaut
already has 6 other schools. It is also planning a larger Barry
Callebaut Institute to improve cocoa and chocolate innovations,
education and information.
Graphics and Data tables:
Graphic: New York Cocoa Bean Futures
U.S. Spot Prices for Selected Origins of Cocoa Beans and Products
New York Cocoa Bean Futures Prices
Quarterly Cocoa Bean Grindings by Specified Countries
For more information, contact Debra Pumphrey, agricultural economist, Horticultural and Tropical Products Division, Foreign Agricultural Service at (202) 720-8899.