CÔTE D’IVOIRE – The Ivorian government has suspended the export of its local rice and sugar produce amid surging prices, according to a press statement from the country’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Promotion of SMEs.

The press release was jointly signed by the Minister of Commerce, Industry, and Promotion of SMEs, Souleymane Diarrassouba, and his colleague from the Budget and State Portfolio, Moussa Sanogo.

The ministers noted that the precautionary measure has been implemented to protect the purchasing power of the population.

Following the ban, the country’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has informed foreign trade users of the precautionary suspension of exports till the end of the year.

The authorities further clarified that these measures were key in the fight against the high cost of living and in ensuring a regular supply of rice and sugar in the national market.

The decision comes at a time when global sugar prices have surged to an 11-year high as the largest global producers experienced reduced cane production due to bad weather.

India which is the second largest producer of sugar in the world has restricted sugar exports to cater for their domestic demand due to low rainfall in their sugar-producing regions.

The result has been a spike in sugar prices in the global market. According to the International Sugar Organisation report published in the April 2023 market report, the white sugar price Index averaged US$675.69/tonne, up from US$586.92 in March and US$560.46 in February.

To protect its domestic sugar prices, Cote d’Ivoire seems to also have taken the Indian route of restricting sugar export.

Poor weather has also impacted rice production prompting the government to take action to protect local supply and tame prices.

According to an investigation by the Ministry of Commerce, in certain regions of Abidjan, a 22.5 kg bag of rice is sold at 15,000 FCFA (US$24.31) instead of 13,150 FCFA(US$21.31), the capped price, while 1 kg brown sugar costs 900 FCFA (US$1.46), instead of 770 FCFA (US$1.25).

The government hopes that curtailing exports by cool down prices and has warned that any failure to comply with this provision of exporting rice as well as sugar in all its forms will result in sanctions as provided for by the Ivorian law relating to competition.

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