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Ivory Coast cocoa farmers seek gold in face of drought

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Cocoa beans. (Dominique Faget, AFP)
Cocoa beans. (Dominique Faget, AFP)

Boore - Once a cocoa planter, Ferdinand Konan Yao has joined the ranks of fellow farmers who have abandoned Ivory Coast's top cash crop to work in clandestine gold mines buried deep in the plantations.

"It hasn't rained for more than five years and cocoa's no longer worth anything," said Yao, sporting a cowboy hat.

Ivory Coast is the world's leading cocoa exporter but it is the prospect of striking gold that is luring diggers from neighbouring Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea.

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