Cocoa Wars

09 May 2006

This time they mean business. After the revolts of recent years African countries have chosen to form a cartel to counter the dwindling value of cocoa on the New York and London stock exchanges.

In Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Sao Tomé and Uganda thousands of small producers work hard to fill sacks with precious cocoa beans for which they receive $1,500 per ton. Multinational corporations then sell the beans for $50 per kilo, compared to the 40-80 cents pocketed by the producers, reaping huge profits.

“We want better remuneration for African cocoa”, said Nigerian President Obasanjo at the meeting that marked the birth of the cartel. “It’s scandalous that prices are determined in Europe and the United States with no consideration for production costs”.

The African countries participating in the cartel are developing various strategies for protecting themselves from the power of Western markets. One of these is the pooling of product reserves, to be used for balancing out fluctuations in supply and demand which enable speculation on the part of foreign buyers.

Source: La Stampa

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