As tensions in the Ivory Coast continue to grow, Barry Callebaut, the world’s largest chocolate manufacturer, has decided to halt exports from the volatile region.  

“We have suspended the export of cocoa beans and cocoa products from Côte d’Ivoire,” says Raphael Wermuth, Barry Callebaut’s external communications manager. “As part of our contingency plan, we have stepped up the production in our other cocoa producing factories outside Côte d’Ivoire.”  

Wermuth notes that just because Callebaut will no longer be exporting does not mean production will stop.

Plants will continue to function as normal despite threats from Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo to nationalize the cocoa sector.  

After a controversial presidential election last year, Gbagbo has refused to relinquish his post in the West African country, further damaging a cocoa market already paralyzed by an export ban.  

Although the situation is touch-and-go, Wermuth says that the company, which makes chocolate for groups such as Nestle and Hershey, does not believe this decision will affect their business.  

“Based on our assessment of the situation today, we expect to be able to honor our customer contracts. Should the situation change, we would have to review,” says Wermuth.  

And Barry Callebaut isn’t the only manufacturer reassessing the situation. Illinois-based Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) has also decided to shut down plant operations in the African nation.  

Chief Financial Officer Ray Young cited their workers safety as the main reasoning for ceasing production.  
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- G.W.