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Global restructuring and liberalization: Côte d'Ivoire and the end of the international cocoa market?

Losch B.. 2002. Journal of Agrarian Change, 2 (2) : p. 206-227.

DOI: 10.1111/1471-0366.00031

The restructuring of the world cocoa market has concluded with the liberalization of the sector in the world's leading producing country, Côte d'Ivoire, clearing the way for domination by an oligopoly of global companies. This paper describes how Côte d'Ivoire's share of world production created an illusion but not the reality of market power, In the 1990s, in the wake of failed attempts to influence the world market, the Ivorian cocoa sector experienced a series of upheavals that were both pivotal to broader changes in the global market and a reflection of them. The converging strategies of new Ivorian firms and of the major global grinding companies resulted in increased vertical integration in Côte d'Ivoire, exemplified in the development of 'origin grinding'. Later, financial difficulties encountered by Ivorian firms led to global companies taking control. Amongst the results of these changes are a decline in the role of traders, a redefinition of the relationship between grinders and chocolate manufacturers, and a standardization of cocoa quality around an average 'bulk' level. This signals the end of 'the producing countries' and of the global market.

Mots-clés : marché mondial; fève de cacao; libéralisation des échanges; côte d'ivoire; cacao

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