Ivory Coast’s Cocoa farmers are currently suffering high rejection rates of their produce due to a problem with the quality of their crops.

Less than 50,000 tonnes of cocoa were accepted at the country’s ports in the first two weeks of February compared with 82,000 tonnes estimated to be sold by exporters, an official told Reuters on today. “It’s hard to give a figure, but around one-third of volumes arriving from the bush are rejected due to quality problems,” the news agency quoted the senior marketing official at the Coffee and Cocoa Council. The official added that the board’s agents had seen a spike in acid levels in beans.

Ivory Coast is French-speaking West Africa’s largest economy and the world’s largest exporter of Cocoa. The crop earned Ivorian farmers $2.53 billion in 2009, while the country produced 2.280 million tonnes in 2012/2013 season, 58 percent of total world cocoa output. However, analysts say high cocoa prices is set to curb demand from chocolate makers. A Reuters report earlier in the week said the demand for the cash crop will likely remain depressed throughout the year because high prices will make make processing less profitable and put pressure on chocolate makers to shrink bar sizes or use cheaper alternative ingredients such as vegetable oils in products.

The news agency said the outlook for cocoa demand in Europe, North America and Asia is expected to remain disappointing after worse than expected cocoa demand data in the fourth quarter of 2014.

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