(NaturalNews) The International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) announced yesterday that the 2007 cocoa crop would produce a global cocoa surplus of 80,000 tons, up from previous estimates of a 5,000-ton deficit.
The trade organization said favorable weather conditions in cocoa-producing regions of the world accounts for the bumper crop, which is being considered a record. News of the large crop comes in spite of cocoa farmers' unrest and an outbreak of a swollen shoot virus that harmed crops in some African growing regions.
Africa accounts for 72 percent of the world's cocoa production, with the Cote d'Ivoire region contributes the most by generating nearly 1.4 mt in 2005. Though regular rainfall and good weather aided Cote d'Ivoire's production, the farmers' union Anaproci called for strikes to spur the government to provide greater financial support for farming co-ops.
The strikes were suspended at the end of October, and although an agreement between the farmers' union and the government has not yet been reached, negotiations are underway.
"It is worth noting that at the opening of the current 2006/07 campaign, the Government of Cote d'Ivoire strived towards its effort in reducing the level of taxation in the cocoa sector but not as much as requested by Ivorian farmers," the ICCO report stated.
World production of cocoa for 2005-06 increased by 6 percent over previous years, with the majority of cocoa going to the United States. U.S. consumers ate 781,000 tons of cocoa last year, with second-place Germany consuming 278,000 tons.
Global exports of cocoa beans from January to March this year grew to more than 657,000 tons, while imports also grew to more than 905,000 tons.
Worldwide exports of chocolate or chocolate products experienced a 9.7 percent growth rate this year to nearly 903,000 tons, with imports rising 16.3 percent to nearly 898,000 tons.