December 5, 2020

By Ange Aboa

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Ivory Coast will lift a suspension on cocoa sustainability schemes run by U.S.-based Hershey on its territory that it imposed earlier this week, according to a letter addressed to the chocolate maker and seen by Reuters.

On Monday, Ivorian and Ghanaian cocoa regulators suspended the schemes, accusing Hershey of sourcing large volumes of physical cocoa on the ICE futures exchange to avoid paying a premium aimed at combating farmer poverty, known as a living income differential (LID).

Hershey, makers of such popular candy items as Hershey chocolate bars, Hershey’s Kisses and Kit Kat, said it was fully participating in the LID and would continue to do so.

Ivorian regulator, the Coffee and Cocoa council (CCC), has since held a video meeting with Hershey representatives in which it promised to lift the suspension, according to the letter dated Dec. 4, from the CCC to Hershey.

The move “follows your definitive commitment to pay the LID”, the letter said.

A CCC spokesperson verified its authenticity.

Hershey did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It was not clear if Ghana’s cocoa industry regulator, Cocobod, would follow suit. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Pravin Char)

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