September 28, 2018 / 7:55 PM / 24 days ago

Shippers cut Ghana cocoa export freight by 9.4 pct - Body

ACCRA, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Shippers ferrying Ghana’s cocoa exports to Europe will cut their freight charges by 9.4 percent for the October-September season to compensate the country for recent global bean price falls, the head of the Ghana shippers authority said on Friday.

Benonita Bismarck said that from Monday, shippers will charge 35 pounds per tonne for cocoa shipments to Europe, compared with the 39 pounds its members received in the previous season.

“The reduction in the tariffs was mainly due to recent price volatilities in global cocoa prices. The price of cocoa is down by 40 percent so we think a 9.4 percent reduction somehow compensates for it,” she told reporters at the end of a negotiation meeting in Accra.

Ghana, the world’s second-largest cocoa producer after Ivory Coast, said it lost around 2 billion cedis ($410 mln) last year due to a sharp fall in global bean prices.

The country operates a two-cycle cocoa season consisting of the main crop, which is mainly exported to Europe at a premium, and a light crop harvest which is discounted by around 20 percent to local grinders.

At least 700,000 tonnes of premium beans from the main crop harvest is exported annually, the cocoa marketing company said.

Ghana and top grower Ivory Coast plan to announce the price they will pay cocoa farmers for the upcoming October-September crop on Monday as part of a deal to harmonize industry activities.

Officials told Reuters on Friday that Ghana will likely maintain the price at 7,600 cedis ($1,530) per tonne. In contrast, there are suggestions that Ivory Coast might increase its farmgate price.

The two West African nations, which account for around 60 percent of the world’s cocoa beans supply, have agreed to work together to improve production and sales of cocoa in a bid to boost profits. (Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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