BRAZILIAN GROWERS WANT GOVERNMENT TO OFFSET COSTS OF COCOA AGREEMENT

BRAZILIAN GROWERS WANT GOVERNMENT TO OFFSET COSTS OF COCOA AGREEMENT

Rural organizations in Bahia, Brazil's biggest cocoa-producing region, will support a new cocoa pact calling for voluntary cuts in world supply as long as the government helps offset the costs of such an operation.

Cocoa producers worldwide are scheduled to meet in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, this month to discuss world output policy as part of the International Cocoa Agreement worked out in July in Geneva.The Cocoa Producers Alliance has proposed that producers reduce output by 370,000 metric tons over a five-year period, beginning with a 74,000-ton reduction in 1993-94 (October-September).

A spokesman at Brazil's Foreign Ministry said government officials and private-sector representatives would meet next week to discuss Brazil's role in the new pact, and probably decide to join.

The meeting will be chaired by Sergio Moreira Lima, the Foreign Ministry's commodities division chief, who is in London representing Brazil at International Coffee Organization talks.

Ronaldo Monteiro Carvalho, vice president of the National Cocoa Producers Association, said he hoped the Brazilian government would give the cocoa industry the same support it has given the coffee industry for a coffee-export retention plan agreed upon last week at the first meeting of the Association of Coffee Producing Countries.

''We are in much less of a position even than the coffee growers to finance any sort of supply-control plan," Mr. Carvalho said, citing historically low world cocoa prices.

Brazil accounts for 14 percent to 15 percent of world cocoa production and thus would have to reduce output by about 11,000 tons next year if the 74,000-ton figure is adopted for 1993-94, he said.

"We will gladly withhold this amount if the government will cooperate by buying up the extra cocoa for school lunch programs, as we have suggested in the past," Mr. Carvalho said.

Brazil, including Bahia, Espirito Santo and the Amazon region, produced 270,000 tons of cocoa in its 1992-93 (May-April) year, according to Mr. Carvalho.

Of that total, internal consumption accounts for about 50,000 tons, leaving exportable production at 220,000, he said.

Another estimate, offered by the Bahia Cocoa Commission, which represents exporters and grinders, puts 1992-93 production at 282,000 tons, practically the same as 1991-92.