FILE - In this Tuesday, May 31, 2011 file photo, farmer Issiaka Ouedraogo walks past cocoa pods growing on a tree on a cocoa farm outside the village of Fangolo, near Duekoue Ivory Coast. On Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, The Associated Press reported that stories circulating on the internet about chocolate going extinct by 2050 are untrue. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
INTERNATIONAL - Ivory Coast sold more cocoa from its main crop this month after favorable growing conditions resulted in better-than-expected deliveries of the beans, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Le Conseil du Cafe Cacao, the industry regulator, sold an extra 80,000 metric tons directly to local exporters, rather than through the usual auctions, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the deals are private. The sales were finalized at a meeting in the commercial capital, Abidjan, on Jan. 19, said the person.

Mariam Dagnogo, a spokeswoman for the regulator, didn’t answer calls seeking comment.

The latest sales to locally owned shippers follow after cocoa arrivals in the first three months of the season since October jumped by more than 10 percent from the same period a year ago, when Ivory Coast eventually harvested a record crop that exceeded 2 million tons. In December, the regulator sold an extra 100,000 tons to processors and exporters to create a buffer should some shippers default, people familiar with the matter said at the time.

Earlier this month, government data showed contracts auctioned and sold for the main harvest through March totaled 1.438 million tons, volumes that will exclude the latest sales.

The regulator, which usually auctions about 80 percent of the crop prior to the beginning of the season, is considering reopening bidding for additional deliveries until March, said the person.

London cocoa futures for March dropped 0.5 percent to 1,357 pounds ($1,935) at the close on Wednesday, extending a decline for the most-active contract since the beginning of last year to 22 percent.

- BLOOMBERG