U.S. agribusiness trader Cargill aims to purchase 100,000 metric tons of certified Ivorian cocoa this season, up slightly from 95,000 metric tons last season, West Africa managing director Lionel Soulard said on Thursday.
The mid-crop in the world's top cocoa grower started officially on April 1 and farmers have forecast a strong harvest, due to good weather. Certified cocoa are premium beans destined for export markets and grown under strict conditions.
"This year, we have bought 90,000 metric tons of certified cocoa. There are still six months left and we could be at 100,000 metric tons of certified cocoa by the end of the season," Soulard told journalists.
He added that its purchases of certified cocoa would increase further next season and said Cargill, one of the top buyers in the Ivorian market, hoped one day to buy only certified cocoa.
The firm expects to pay a one-off premium of around $20 million to cooperatives for the certified cocoa, a figure that was little changed from the previous season, Soulard added.
The government has set a guaranteed minimum price of 750 CFA francs ($1.58) for the April-to-September mid-crop, the same level as for the main crop.
($1 = 474.1110 CFA Francs)
(Reporting By Loucoumane Coulibaly; Writing by Emma Farge, editing by David Evans)