March 31st, 2011
03:31 PM GMT
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The price of chocolate could increase if the violence and political stalemate in Ivory Coast continues. Prices of cocoa are already at an all time high and confectioners warn that the consumers could soon be paying more for chocolates if there is no resolution.

The West African country is the world’s largest producer and exporter of cocoa. The international community has slapped embargoes on the Ivorian cocoa industry, stopping exports of the crop, in a bid to cut off foreign exchange revenue to former president Laurent Gbagbo and his supporters. Gbagbo refuses to give up power after losing elections last year

The fighting has also paralyzed the country’s biggest port, which exports much of the raw produce for chocolate.

Latest reports indicate that forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara, the would-be president of the West African nation, have taken the coastal cocoa town of San Pedro. Hundreds of thousands of tons of cocoa beans are reportedly in warehouses, ready to be shipped to international markets.

As the crisis of leadership continues, ordinary Ivorians say they are paying the ultimate price for Gbagbo’s stubbornness. Cocoa farmers are forced to stockpile their crops, waiting for the impasse to end. However, the longer this goes on the longer they don’t get paid.

Beyond the economic hardships, the human impact continues to horrify observers.

“Ivory Coast has reached a boiling point,” says Human Rights Watch (HRW). It says ordinary Ivorians and West African immigrants continue to be massacred by forces loyal to Gbagbo. “We are extremely concerned about the potential for further human rights atrocities, given the killings on both sides,” says Daniel Bekele, who heads up HRW in Africa.

Now, the United Nations has eventually beefed up its response against Gbagbo’s regime, implementing tougher sanctions against him, his wife and three associates. However, the Security Council fell short of referring Gbagbo and his supporters to the International Criminal Court.

With both the economic and humanitarian situation reaching dire consequences for ordinary Ivorians, what is the solution? Will sanctions work to shift Gbagbo out of power? Will West African nations take matters into their own hands and launch their own offensive? After all, the impact of this instability is felt far beyond the borders of the Ivory Coast.

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Conrad

    There is a major difference from the cocoa on the commodities market, whose prices has risen, and the price of cocoa made for chocolate that is actually good (classified as FFC on the market exchange). Artisan chocolate makers (both manufacturers and confectioners) have for the past 15 years paid a higher price for better cocoa grown in places like the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Peru, Indonesia, and Brazil. So, even if the demand of cocoa were to increase while the supply from Cote d'Ivoire decreased, the increase of supply from an influx of new sources would be ample enough to fulfill the need of both large and small cocoa manufacturers and farmers.

    Cote d'Ivoire may have a long road ahead in rebuilding a secure nation, but emphasis should always be placed on the welfare of their people. Cocoa practices need to be better observed to prevent forced labor and especially child labor which prevents education access. Until those measures are in place, I will continue to boycott the cacao products from Cote d'Ivoire.

    March 31, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  2. Dana

    GD that was well-written!!

    April 1, 2011 at 3:48 am |
  3. Humbert Wonka

    There is at least some good coming out of this terrible humanitarian prices in Ivory Coast! Chocolate prices will be going up.

    April 1, 2011 at 7:02 am |
  4. banjy

    the US is only concerned about the price of chocolate in a matter of life and death. shame

    April 2, 2011 at 6:13 am |
  5. mr nestle

    oil, gas, coal, gold, and now cocoa beans, what other natural resource do you want to control in a foriegn country,

    April 2, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  6. eddie2010

    The violence in the Ivory Coast is the excuse. The real reason is that cocoa prices will rise like every other commodity price, due to the plunging US dollar. Keep printing em, Ben.

    April 3, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  7. willian

    Hundreds of people loss their lives, many more displaced and the second thing you write about is the price of chocolate going up? seriously???

    April 3, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  8. Claudio Lucano

    Are you kidding? is this all you can say about this?
    agree with banjy.... SHAME ON YOU

    April 3, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  9. Speculator identifier

    Just another attempt at market speculators to drive the price of something else sky high.

    April 3, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
  10. David E.

    It sounds like chocolate is a necessity in life. Are we gong to be able to survive this crisis? Chocolate prices are going up, oh my goodness, what are we going to do?

    April 3, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
  11. bmull

    And how does Anthony Ward cornering the cocoa market help any of this?

    April 4, 2011 at 12:11 am |
  12. Dean

    Cacoa produced in South america is still the best quality in the world and should be able to offset any shortages to western markets. This leaves the Chinese short, as they produce the cheapest quality chocolate products

    April 4, 2011 at 12:55 am |
  13. Rodriguez

    Let's get rid of all chocolate for a short break for once.

    April 9, 2011 at 6:21 am |
  14. rakowksks

    Its written very well for a "topic" like this. Yet so many people have died and this is the only thing to wright about.. (Shame on you, "tisk tisk tisk") ____

    April 20, 2011 at 2:01 am |
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