Election violence hits Ivory Coast cocoa port arrivals


COCOA arrivals at ports in Ivory Coast fell this week because of a violent political standoff following a disputed presidential election in the world’s top growing nation, exporters have said.

The political crisis in the West African nation escalated this week after several opposition leaders who called for a boycott of the October 31 presidential election, rejected President Alassane Ouattara’s victory and formed a parallel government.

The government moved swiftly and placed them under effective house arrest, while a former rebel leader has called for the army to mutiny and join the opposition.

Exporters said the cocoa sector, which had largely been spared, started to feel the impact of the crisis after the vote on Saturday and incidents that followed.

At least 40 people have been killed in violence stirred by the vote that has sparked fears of a repeat of 2010 when a disputed election won by Ouattara led to a brief civil war that killed 3,000 people.

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The delivery of cocoa beans to Abidjan and San Pedro ports between Monday and Wednesday were estimated at 29,000 tonnes, compared with the 62,000 tonnes delivered during the same period last week, exporters told Reuters.

Exporters’ data showed that 44,000 tonnes were delivered at ports during the same period last year.

“Yes there is more fear and worry among farmers, and middlemen, and buyers, since this weekend with the heightened political tensions and clashes. No one is thinking about cocoa now,” said a commercial director of an Abidjan based cocoa exporter. – Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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