May 9 - The world's largest cocoa producer resumes exports after four months of violent political conflict. Hayley Platt reports.
The world's largest cocoa producer is back in business. Ivory Coast resumed exports after a four month ban was lifted following last year's disputed election. Nearly half a million tonnes of cocoa were held in West African ports after President Ouattara stopped exports. Shipping agents said they were relieved to finally see the cargo leave. (SOUNDBITE) (French) SAYDOU TRAORE, SHIPPING AGENT, SAYING: "This is the first boat to arrive since we received the OK to start loading. It needs to pick up 1,700 tonnes here, then it will go to the port of San Pedro to load another 7,500 tonnes there." The country's former president Laurent Gbagbo, in power since 2000, refused to admit defeat to Ouattara in November's presidential election, leading to civil unrest. Fortunately, say port officials, there was little damage to the docks. (SOUNDBITE)(French) CAPTAIN IDRISSA DOSSO, HEAD OF OPERATIONS AT ABIDJAN PORT, SAYING: "The port is fully operational. We are able to receive the cargo ships in the port of Abidjan. Logistically it's all there, we have the people, there's no problem." At the height of the conflict in March cocoa prices hit record highs of $3,775 dollars per tonne. Last week exporters resolved a row with the country's new government over customs payments paving the way for exports to resume. When it became clear in April Ouattara would finally become President prices fell 22%. Hayley Platt, Reuters.