ICCO cocoa research symposium unveils September date

The International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO)  and French institution Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) plan to hold the second edition of the International Symposium on Cocoa Research between 29-29 September 2021, in  Montpellier, France, writes Neill Barston.

As its organisers explained to Confectionery Production, the industry gathering, which is subject to conditions permitting, represents a major opportunity for participants to interact with sector industry leaders and high-level speakers, who will present their latest studies and point the way forward for the industry.

The main theme of this edition of the symposium is “Innovations to Support Market Development and Promote Sustainability in Cocoa Farming to Improve Farmers’ Incomes,” and follows its debut event that  attracted over 500 participants, not only from the scientific community, but also from the entire cocoa value chain.

In order to facilitate the reception of papers and presentations, as well as the registration to attend the event, the organisation has published the website www.iscrsymposium.org from which all the information related to the event, the different thematic areas, as well as the conditions and requirements to send the papers can be consulted. The period for submission of papers is open until March 20th, 2021.

Regarding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the ICCO, which was established in 1973 by the UN as an intergovernmental organisation, said that its event will comply with strictest measures in terms of covid prevention, there are reduced rates until April 30, 2021. Additionally, there are several discounts applicable to students and organisations from ICCO Member and non ICCO Member countries.

Cocoa stocks

The ICCO Expert Working Group on Stocks (EWGS) met via videoconference this week to review the level of European cocoa bean stocks as per the ICCO survey. The survey has been conducted every year since 2000 and aims to improve transparency in the cocoa market.

The EWGS is composed of experts in the cocoa field who meet, at the invitation of the ICCO, to review and analyse the results of the ICCO’s annual survey of cocoa bean stocks held in warehouses worldwide. However, due to unavoidable circumstances the Group discussed only the European stocks and will in due course conduct another meeting to assess total worldwide volumes.

Results for the survey dated 30 September 2020 , revealed that European cocoa stocks were 774,651 tonnes as at the end of the 2019/20 cocoa year, representing a reduction of 1.5% (down by 11,734 tonnes) compared with the previous season. Due caution should however be exercised in interpreting these results, as not all warehouse-keepers responded and the same values were considered for two warehouses (holding about 90,000 tonnes of stocks altogether) that did not reply to the survey.

The percentage of terminal market stocks was reduced by 8% from 169,510 tonnes at the end of the 2018/19 season to 156,730 tonnes for the 2019/20 season. It is worth noting that the ICE Futures Europe stocks represented almost 20% of the overall cocoa stocks of the ICCO European stocks survey as at the end of the 2019/20 cocoa year.

Cocoa stocks published by ICE Futures Europe are generally lower than the volume of cocoa identified by the ICCO survey for two main reasons. Firstly, they represent only part of the cocoa stocks held by warehouse-keepers, as they are restricted to graded cocoa held in ICE Futures Europe nominated warehouses. On the contrary, the ICCO survey endeavours to seek information on all cocoa stocks held by the warehouses, and includes cocoa destined for the terminal market as well as cocoa stocks held by warehouse-keepers for traders, cocoa processors and chocolate manufacturers.

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