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  • Ivory Coast suspends sales of raw cashews to exporters

    May 9th, 2024

    Ivory Coast has suspended exporters' purchases and exports of raw cashew nuts to allow local processors to supply their factories, according to an agriculture ministry memo dated May 7 and seen by Reuters.

    Ivory Coast, the world's largest cocoa producer, has also become a leading grower of cashew nuts in recent years, but only a fraction of its nuts are processed locally as firms face steep competition from deeper-pocketed Asian exporters.

    The ministry did not say how long the suspension would be in place, but a ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it would stand until further notice.

    "These restrictive measures, which are part of the national policy for the development and promotion of agro-industry, aim to ensure the supply of local processing units," the memo said.

    In February, local processors appealed to the government for extra support, warning of impending bankruptcy. Just 22% of output was processed locally in 2023, according to the ministry.

    Speaking on condition of anonymity, the head of a local processing company said the sector had been asking the government to introduce this kind of suspension for three years.

    "It is only now that the decision comes after the bankruptcy of at least nine processing companies," the source said.

    Another member of the cashew processors association said: "it's a bit late, but it's a beneficial decision for the sector and especially for us ... It was impossible to compete against the Asian multinationals."

    Ivorian cashew nut output is expected to rise to 1.25 million metric tons this year, about 5% higher than in 2023, Agriculture Minister Kobenan Kouassi Adjoumani told reporters in February.