ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast – Ivory Coast has earmarked 380 million euros to prop up cocoa and cashew producers who are key exporters for the West African country hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Growers of cotton, rubber, palm oil, and coffee will also benefit from the aid, worth roughly $410 million, government spokesman Sidi Toure said after a Cabinet meeting.
Ivory Coast is the world’s top cocoa producer, accounting for 40% of the market last year.
Between 5 million and 6 million Ivorians depend on cocoa for their livelihood.
The coronavirus pandemic is not having a direct impact on agriculture, but exports could drop because of the global economic downturn.
Communication Minister Sidi Toure announced the measures, which also include 152 million euros for Ivory Coast’s sprawling informal economy.
The funds are part of a 2.6-billion-euro “economic, social, and humanitarian” plan announced on March 31 by Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly.
The government has forecast that the pandemic will cut growth in half, to 3.6%, this year.
The former French colony has to date registered 626 cases of COVID-19, with 6 deaths. – Rappler.com