Cocoa pods
Record 2016-17 production contributed to global oversupply.

ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST — The Coffee and Cocoa Council of the Ivory Coast indicated it plans to suspend programs to boost cocoa production during the 2018-19 season that begins Oct. 1 due to the global oversupply of cocoa beans, according to trade reports.

The council said it would stop distribution of higher-yielding hybrid seeds and plants that are distributed to farmers by chocolate makers such as Mars, Inc., and Nestle S.A.

The Ivory Coast is the world’s largest cocoa bean producer, attributing for about 40% of global output. Production increased from about 1.6 million tonnes a decade ago to a record 2 million tonnes in 2016-17, contributing to a global surplus of cocoa beans. The council said it hopes to reduce cocoa bean production to 1.7 million to 1.8 million tonnes annually.

The 2017-18 crop has been forecast at 1.9 million tonnes, down from last year due to adverse weather. 

The International Cocoa Organization estimated a global cocoa bean surplus of 300,000 tonnes in 2016-17 and forecast a surplus of 105,000 tonnes in the current 2017-18 marketing year. Global production was estimated at 4,748,000 tonnes last year and is forecast at 4,638,000 tonnes this year.

The Ivory Coast council also began a three-year program to destroy 300,000 hectares of cocoa trees infected by swollen shoot since January, which will contribute to its goal to reduce production.