ABIDJAN: Cocoa arrivals at ports in top grower Ivory Coast reached around 742,000 tonnes by Jan. 13 since the start of the season in October, exporters estimated on Monday, compared with 789,322 tonnes in the same period of the previous season.
Exporters estimated around 46,000 tonnes of beans were delivered to the West African state's two ports between Jan. 7 to 13 down from 50,860 tonnes in the same week a year ago.
"This morning we received much less than we normally receive," the director of a European export company based in San Pedro said on Monday, asking not to be named.
"All our suppliers are telling us more or less the same thing. Production isn't as good as they'd expected. From now on, they are going to deliver much less product, because there aren't many pods left to harvest."
Farmers typically push to sell more beans immediately before the Christmas and New Year holidays to earn extra money for the festivities, and exporters said they had therefore anticipated a drop in output.
However, many worried that last week's slip in arrivals may signal the tapering off of the October to March main crop harvest.
"We are going to send our teams into the bush to verify the information we're receiving from the middlemen. We need to know if this is true and adapt our strategy accordingly," said the head of an Abidjan-based exporter.
"We may lower our production forecast of 1.05 million tonnes for the main crop if our pod counting teams confirm that there really is a drop," he said, asking not to be named.