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Indonesia cocoa exports fall 80pc

Jakarta, November 2, 2011

Indonesia's cocoa bean exports from the main growing island of Sulawesi slumped 80 percent in October from a year ago, declining for an eighth consecutive month, industry data showed on Wednesday.

Indonesia, the world's third-largest cocoa producer after the Ivory Coast and Ghana, has suffered a bad harvest this year as wet weather damaged the main crop and triggered an outbreak of a deadly fungal disease.

Southeast Asia's largest economy exported 6,877.80 tonnes of cocoa in October, versus 33,897.86 tonnes in the same month last year, the industry data showed.

Sulawesi's October cocoa exports were also 7 percent lower than September's exports of 7,388.28 tonnes. Exports have been falling since March, when the Vascular-streak Dieback (VSD) disease spread across plantations.

Investors are now turning their attention to the smaller  mid-crop in October which could yield better beans if the weather remains favourable until the end of this year.

The rainy season for over a third of Indonesia began in October, while it will start in November for another third of the vast archipelago, the state weather agency said in September.

Indonesia, which accounts for about 10 percent of global cocoa output, launched a $350 million programme in 2009 to boost cocoa production to more than 600,000 tonnes within four to five years. So far, it has yet to show results, with bad weather, growers' failure to follow advice on planting techniques and mismanagement working against the campaign.

Instead of rising, output is likely to plunge more than 30 percent to around 400,000 tonnes this year, but the Indonesian Cocoa Association (Askindo) expects a recovery next year, with output forecast to rise to 660,000 tonnes.  - Reuters




Tags: Exports | Indonesia | crop | cocoa |

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