ABIDJAN, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast's rubber output rose by a quarter in 2019 to 780,000 tonnes and is expected to reach 850,000 tonnes this year as new plantations have started producing, the head of the country's natural rubber association (APROMAC) said.
Ivory Coast is Africa's top natural rubber exporter and the seventh largest producer in the world. New plantations have proliferated as farmers switch from cocoa to rubber in search of more stable incomes.
Akpangni Attobra, APROMAC's general secretary, told Reuters on Wednesday that output will keep rising and should reach 950,000 tonnes in 2021.
Attobra said it was difficult for some farmers to sell their production and that some buyers were paying less than the monthly guaranteed farmgate price set by APROMAC, set at 284 CFA francs per kilogram in 2019.
Demand, however, for Ivory Coast's rubber was particularly strong in China, Thailand, Malaysia, Europe and America, he said. (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Juliette Jabkhiro and Susan Fenton)