ABIDJAN, July 26 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
"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
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.
($1 = 495.6040 CFA francs)
(Reporting By Joe Bavier; editing by Jane Baird)