Cocoa arrivals at Ivory Coast ports had hit around 2 million tons by September 24 since the start of the season on Oct. 1, the largest cocoa harvest ever seen in the world’s top grower, exporters estimated on Monday.
The figure was up by about a third from about 1.5 million tons in the same period of the previous season and breaks a world record for a single year’s harvest from any cocoa exporting country.
Exporters estimated that around 4,000 tons of beans were delivered to the port of Abidjan and another 6,000 tons to San Pedro for a total of 10,000 tons delivered between September 18 and September 24. That compared with 24,000 tons during the same period of last season, which saw a surge toward the end.
World cocoa prices have plunged this year as bumper crops in most major producer countries have created a supply glut. The International Cocoa Organization forecasts a global surplus of 371,000 tons this season.
Analysts say Ivory Coast has increased production despite a lack of any notable improvements in management by cocoa authorities or better farming techniques leading to higher yields.
Instead, the surge in output is accounted for largely by a boom in illegal plantations, many of them on protected rainforests.
A fall in prices caused by this season’s glut means farmers are even less likely to take measures to improve yields. Many have been passing up fertilizer and pesticide treatments and are instead spending their reduced earnings this season on essentials like food, healthcare and school fees as a drop in world prices slashes their incomes.