Ivory Coast Halts Olam Rice Imports Over Inedible Shipment

(Bloomberg) -- Ivory Coast imposed a yearlong ban on rice imported by Olam International Ltd. after the West African nation found a shipment to be inedible.

Authorities are investigating the circumstances around the arrival of a load of 18,000 tons from Myanmar that was found “unfit for consumption,” the Ministry of Trade said in a statement. The cargo has been sent to a landfill site where it is being destroyed, the ministry said.

The investigation is ongoing and the ministry will decide how to proceed, it said. Olam is disappointed about the proclamation of the ban, the company said by email.

“The unique circumstances relating to the recent rejection of a cargo rice were unfortunate and not representative of the shipments of rice into Cote d’Ivoire,” said the company. Olam will seek further talks with the ministry to offer assurances “relating to our food quality and compliance processes, to enable us to resume rice shipments.”

Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, annually consumes about 2.5 million tons of rice, of which about half is locally produced. Singapore-based Olam is one of the country’s biggest processors of cocoa, grains, sugar and edible oils.

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