Cargill Suspends Cocoa Purchases in Ivory Coast
Cargill, Inc., has temporarily suspended cocoa bean purchases in Ivory Coast.
Alassane Ouattara, the president-elect of Ivory Coast-the world's largest cocoa producer-on Monday barred cocoa exports for a month in order to cut off funds to incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to stand down.
The country's main exporters agreed to the ban, according to the Star Tribune. Representatives of Minnetonka-based Cargill told Bloomberg, Reuters, and the Financial Times that it had temporarily suspended cocoa exports from Ivory Coast, but the company declined to confirm those reports when asked by local media.
However, the United States supports the month-long ban on cocoa exports-and the U.S. Department of State on Monday applauded Cargill's decision to halt its purchase of Ivory Coast cocoa.
“We welcome that action,” Assistant Secretary Philip J. Crowley said in a press briefing, adding that Cargill is a “major player” the cocoa buying arena.
Cargill procures cocoa beans and processes them into cocoa butter, cocoa liquor, and cocoa powder, according to the Star Tribune. It also makes chocolate directly.
Following the cocoa ban, cocoa prices in New York rose to their highest price in a year.
The Star Tribune reports that Cargill has been active since 1997 in Ivory Coast and employs more than 500 employees in that area.
To read the full Star Tribune report, click here.