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Cocoa and Cocoa Products

CBI and ITC create a greater impact on export value chains

CBI and the International Trade Centre (ITC) have a long history of collaboration. CBI and ITC collaborate in a series of 4-year programmes titled the Netherlands Trust Fund (NTF). The NTF is currently in its fourth phase of operation: NTF IV.

Improve the export competitiveness

The objective of NTF IV is to enhance the export competitiveness of specific sectors in selected countries. An integrated approach improves sector competitiveness and is focused on the generation of export revenues. There are four secondary outcomes:

Living income gains visibility and scale in the cocoa sector

Pricing is a hot topic in the cocoa sector, dominating discussions among stakeholders in the past years. The debate is enhanced by historically low cocoa prices that fail to safeguard a decent income to farmers involved in cocoa production. The vision of providing cocoa farmers with a ‘living income’ has moved from a niche discussion to a sector-wide necessity.

Entering the Belgian market for cocoa

About 99% of Belgium’s cocoa bean imports are sourced directly from producing countries, which enter the country through Europe’s second largest cocoa port: the port of Antwerp. Sustainability is key in the Belgian cocoa sector. The increasing endorsement of certification provides an interesting entry point to exporters that have significant volumes and a wide assortment of certified cocoa.


The Belgian market potential for cocoa

Belgium is famous around the world for its chocolates. ‘Made in Belgium’ chocolates reflect tradition and quality, and make Belgium the world’s second largest exporter of chocolate products. Belgium is Europe’s second-largest direct cocoa bean importer, and is also an important distributor of cocoa derivatives, mainly to the cocoa-processing industries in neighbouring countries. Sustainability is key in the country; the Belgian cocoa sector launched an initiative in late 2018 aiming to make the sector 100% sustainable by 2025.

Exporting cocoa to Belgium

Belgium is famous around the world for its chocolates. ‘Made in Belgium’ chocolates reflect tradition and quality, and make Belgium the world’s second largest exporter of chocolate products. About 99% of Belgium’s cocoa bean imports are sourced directly from producing countries, which enter the country through Europe’s second largest cocoa port: the port of Antwerp. Belgium is also an important distributor of cocoa derivatives, mainly to the cocoa-processing industries in neighbouring countries.

A taste for cocoa

In order for cocoa producers in Central America to capitalise on a growing niche market for fine-flavoured cocoa products, education amongst producers around the complex organoleptic properties of the product is necessary. To help achieve this, CBI facilitated training workshops on November 1st and 2nd, 2019 under the Market Orientation Mission for cocoa participants from Central America.

The changing face of Europe's private label chocolate market

For many years, supermarket chocolate brands were unappealing to European consumers. These chocolates were associated to low-quality cocoa blends, packaged in plain and simple materials with a generic design. By far not a market that exporters of specialty cocoa would ever consider exploring. These days are over.

Cocoa Mano River Union

Do you have a cocoa business in Sierra Leone or Liberia? Are you interested in developing a sustainable export position on the European market? If you are, CBI’s Business Export Coaching project offers you good opportunities:

Exporting cocoa beans to Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe is an emerging market for high-quality chocolate. Trends about quality and consumer education might be lagging behind in the region in comparison to Western Europe, but countries such as Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland offer increasing opportunities for the production and trade of high-quality cocoa due to a growing interest in premium chocolates. There are still fewer companies in the region that operate in this niche.

Exporting cocoa beans to Italy

Italy is a large importer of cocoa beans, sourcing a high share of its imports directly from cocoa-producing countries. Western African countries combined account for more than 70% of Italy’s cocoa bean imports, but exports from suppliers in East Africa and Latin America have recently grown at a high rate. Italy is home to large-scale chocolate companies such as Ferrero, but also has several small-scale and high-quality chocolate makers.

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