ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Ivory Coast should be able to export around 50,000 tonnes of cocoa this month, after exports that had been halted by a violent political crisis resumed on Sunday, the head of the regulating body said on Monday.
Shipments from the world's top grower were halted for about three months due to the post-election power struggle and nearly half a million tonnes of cocoa were held up at the West African state's two ports.
International sanctions on the ports and the cocoa regulators were only lifted once Alassane Ouattara, who won a November election but was denied power by incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, was allowed to take office after weeks of fighting.
"As long as there is no hold up in the arrival of ships, I think this month we will be able to export around 50,000 tonnes, but flows are already looking very strong," Eric Koffi, director general of the Coffee and Cocoa Bourse told Reuters by phone.
Purchases of beans up-country also dried up during the crisis but exporters said activity was picking up even though security was still a major concern for traders.
An exporter from a European trading house said around 10,000 tonnes of beans had arrived at the West African state's two ports in the past week, but several others said the priority would be clearing the backlog of beans.
"We are buying what we can at the moment but they are small volumes," said one of the exporters. "We will ramp things up in June when we will have exported the majority of our stocks in the ports."
Acting agriculture minister Gnamien Konan told Reuters on Friday a production forecast for 1.3 million tonnes of cocoa this season remained in place despite the crisis.