Less Than 25% of Ivorian Cocoa Shippers Said to Meet Rules

(Bloomberg) -- Less than a quarter of Ivory Coast’s cocoa shippers are meeting conditions for export permits as the regulator prepares to award licenses for the harvest that begins next month, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Le Conseil du Cafe-Cacao, the regulator, is scheduled to award new permits for cocoa and coffee exporters before Sept. 26, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Only 24 companies and cooperatives currently comply with the requirements even though the regulator didn’t change rules that were set for the past season, said the person.

The regulator is satisfied that there will be sufficient shipping capacity and prefers to have fewer operators, said the person.

The world’s biggest cocoa producer initially awarded 72 licenses in September last year for the current harvest and another 18 in December. This year, it will continue to issue permits after the season’s start in October as shippers meet license obligations, said the person.

Mariam Dagnogo, a spokeswoman for the regulator, didn’t answer calls seeking comment.

Last year, the cocoa regulator toughened rules and increased paperwork for shippers and counterparties following a wave of defaults as companies wrongly bet that prices would rise. The criteria included financing commitments by lenders to ensure that credit is available for bean purchases and payments during exporting and processing.

This year, cocoa prices in London have risen by a fifth as consumers’ demand for chocolate are rising.

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