HomeAboutThe cocoa industry in Côte d’Ivoire

The cocoa industry in Côte d’Ivoire


With its scientific name “Theobroma cacao”, cocoa was introduced in Ivory Coast by Portuguese merchants at the end of the 19th century.

Côte d’Ivoire is the world’s leading cocoa producer, providing more than 40% of the world’s production. This sector represents 10% of the country’s GDP. With a cultivated area of approximately 3 million hectares in the southern part of the country, cocoa production employs nearly 1,000,000 farmers and provides livelihoods for 6 million people, or, 25% of the Ivorian population. Cocoa cultivation has remained mostly traditional with family farms being, on average 3 hectares in size.

Cocoa is the main export product and is thus at the heart of an export-oriented agriculture that has been the backbone of the national economy since independence in 1960.


  • Small scale farmers (about 1,000,000) dedicated to cocoa cultivation, producing on approximately 3,000,000 ha of plantations

  • They plant, harvest and prepare the cocoa beans in the fields. When the cocoa is fermented and dried, they sell it to operators who come to them

  • Producer organization

  • 3,400 registered in the registry of cooperative societies and codified by the Coffee-Cocoa Council

  • Collects and markets members’ products

  • Supplies phytosanitary products to members

  • Travel through the villages to collect the product on behalf of the proxy buyer

  • Control the production areas

Collection Center Handlers
  • Unload in the collection center of the buyers or cooperative societies, the collection trucks coming from the villages

  • Load trailer trucks to deliver products to exporters’ factories

  • Natural or legal person approved by the Cocoa-Coffee Council to purchase cocoa at the plantation

  • Work for various exporters

  • Persons involved in the transport of products from the plantation to the collection center and from the grouping center to the exporters’ factories
  • The profession is regulated

  • Commercial company, SME, buying or pre-financing the purchase of products from buyers and cooperative companies. They are located in the port cities of Abidjan and San Pedro

  • Cooperative society collecting product from producers

  • Pack and export the product

  • Finance the campaign by making money available to exporters for the purchase of products
  • Finances cooperatives and some buyers
  • Play an essential role in securing cocoa from the collection center to the export stage

  • Insurance coverage provides some protection against hazards such as damage during land and sea transport

Third party holder
  • Holds or keeps cocoa under their control on behalf of a natural or legal entity. This entity can be a financial institution or a bank that allocates the funds in exchange for the cocoa lots kept


  • Attests to the existence of the stock in its possession

  • Issues the letter of escrow

  • Pre sells the base product (cocoa bean) or the semi-finished products (cocoa powder)
  • Operators or owners of export packaging
Structures in charge of quality control
  • Analyze the product to be exported and issue an attestation certifying its quality
Structures in charge of phytosanitary control
  • Removes insects/pests from product before shipping
  • Takes care of transporting the cocoa batches to the docks for potting and loading onto the boats
  • Person reserving the use of the vessel
  • Person providing the ship with equipment, food, fuel, captain, crew, etc.
  • Representative of the ship’s receivers
  • Legal entity in charge of customs and port declarations on behalf of exporters
  • Assembles the documents for the exporter
  • Responsible for the loading of the vessel at the time of embarkation
The Coffee-Cocoa Council
  • Mandated by the State and in charge of the regulation, stabilization and development of the Coffee- Cocoa sector in Côte d’Ivoire

The Ivorian forest, which used to occupy the entire southern half of the country, has suffered from accelerated degradation…


Sign up to receive the latest news on CFI activities by email.