In an interview, Yves Komaclo, Oikocredit International’s Investment Manager for West Africa’s Cocoa Sector, gave an update to stakeholders.
“In Côte d’Ivoire especially, cocoa is the main source of foreign currency, sustaining around 1.5 million households,” Yves noted. Oikocredit International provides financial support to producers through partners. The Covid-19 outbreak caused alarm in the first quarter of 2020, leading many governments to take strong health and safety measures.
West Africa’s lockdown was gradually lifted in June and July. Fortunately, cocoa production was largely uninterrupted during peak harvest season from October to December. The restrictions did delay some plantation maintenance and Covid-19 has also resulted in greater price volatility. Western export markets have been affected by closures in the hospitality industry, with falling demand and lower prices for chocolate. This was partly offset by rising demand in China, India and Russia.
Overall, cocoa producers are expecting increasing price fluctuations and Oikocredit International’s partners are generally doing well. There has been some success in providing input finance and trade finance to the sector, but we can do more. Progress in combating child labor and deforestation may have slowed or reversed during the lockdown, so we need to be ready to redouble our efforts.
Interested in reading more? Read the full interview here.