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ABIDJAN, April 12 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world's top cocoa producers, said on Wednesday they would deepen collaboration and coordinate their production strategies in order to tackle price volatility.
The two countries, which together account for over 60 percent of the world's cocoa supply, have been hit hard this season by a sharp drop in world prices that have seen cocoa futures plummet by around a third since last summer.
That has aggravated the countries' respective budget deficits and forced Ivory Coast to lower the price it guarantees for farmers.
"It's become imperative that our countries take decisions on points concerning production and sustainability and on points concerning the prickly question of the volatility of prices," the head of Ivory Coast's Coffee and Cocoa Council, Massandje Toure-Litse, told reporters.
She was speaking after a meeting with her counterpart Joseph Boahen Aidoo, CEO of Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod), in Ivory Coast's commercial capital, Abidjan.
"We have very, very strong involvement at the highest summit of the state. The two heads of state have given very firm instructions," Toure-Litse said.
"Henceforth the world cocoa leaders speak with one voice everywhere and at all times."
The two countries plan to hold regular meetings. They are also establishing a joint technical committee to discuss how best to coordinate their production strategies and ensure that prices are high enough for farmers to keep producing cocoa. (Reporting by Ange Aboa; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Susan Fenton)