Ivory Coast cocoa producers protest downturn in sales

Ivory Coast cocoa producers protest downturn in sales, as several tons pile up in warehouses

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) -- The world's largest cocoa producer is seeing demonstrations against a slowdown in exports and a reduced buying price.

Dozens of people protested Thursday in Ivory Coast's commercial hub of Abidjan and in San Pedro, home of the country's second-largest port. Meanwhile, several tons of cocoa have piled up in warehouses.

The Coffee-Cocoa Council says there has been a slowdown of sales because of overproduction by some 110,000 tons and a worldwide price reduction by 30 percent.

Cocoa producers are asking the government to activate an emergency fund on cocoa.

Christophe Kouakou Koffi, chairman of the board of the agriculture and cheese department of Gagnoa in the country's southwest, says producers are struggling to sell cocoa at a respectable price.

Ivory Coast produced some 1.5 million tons of cocoa in 2015.

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