YAMOUSSOUKRO, Ivory Coast — Ivory Coast has raised the fixed farmgate price paid to cocoa farmers more than 21% to 1,000 CFA Francs ($1.80) per kg for the main crop of the 2020/2021 season starting Thursday, President Alassane Ouattara said.

The decision by the world’s top cocoa producer is in line with a price rise announced by neighboring Ghana on Sept. 24. The two countries account for over 60% of global cocoa bean output.

Addressing thousands of cocoa farmers in the city of Yamoussoukro, Ouattara said the price amounted to state support of 355 billion CFA francs given that the current market price stands at 791 CFA francs per kg.

The increases are largely due to the two governments implementing a price floor of $2,600 per ton and a Living Income Differential (LID ) of $400 per ton, meant to tackle poverty among farmers.

Farmers at the event welcomed the move. “We can invest even more in the farm and take better care of ourselves and our family,” said Augustin Beda, who tends four hectares in the western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt. US chocolate maker Mars, Inc. said in a statement that backed by a transparent process that ensures the additional income reaches farmers, and measures that limit further expansion of land use for cocoa farming, the LID will help address the income challenge faced by farmers.

In August, the two West African nations created a joint body to improve coordination in research, price setting and the fight against child labor.

Ghana cocoa regulator the COCOBOD, said in a statement that purchases of the 2020/2021 main crop started on Friday, Oct. 2. It confirmed the over 20% increase in farmgate price to 10,560 cedi ($1,836.52) per ton. — Reuters