The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) could not attain its projected production levels for cocoa beans for the 2012/2013.
Last year, Ghana produced a record 1 million tonnes of cocoa but it announced yesterday that unfavourable weather could not help it to achieve the target.
“Our target is to buy about 800,000 tonnes in the coming season, both main and light (crops),” Reuters quoted Noah Kwasi Amenyah, Public Affairs Manager of Cocobod as saying. According to analysts, production reduced by more than five percent.
The world’s second-largest cocoa grower, Ghana planned to produce at least 1 million metric tonnes of beans for the crop season as it did in the 2011/2012 season.
This comes after COCOBOD signed a 1.5 billion dollar (lower than $2 billion for last year) pre-export finance agreement with 31 local and international banks for cocoa purchases in the 2012/2013 season. Tony Fofie, Chief Executive of Ghana COCOBOD explained that they based projections on weather conditions.
“Normally, you look at your forecast before you ask for the money so you can know what you’re going to use the money. So after looking at our forecast we settled on the amount,” he told Joy FM.
“This year hasn’t been very good as opposed to last year when we hit the 1 million metric tonnes target. And you know cocoa production is very dependent on the weather and this has not been too favourable this year,” he added.
At the launch of the 7th Alliance of Cocoa Producing Countries (COPAL) Day celebration in late August, Mr. Fofie told CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE that “by all means there would be a shortfall. The weather has not been very kind to us around the west coast and we expect a slight shortfall in our production.”
He said apart from poor weather conditions, a ‘plummeted’ global price for cocoa was also going to affect production.
“The global price is definitely going to affect our revenue this period because apart from the fact that there is reduced production, the global prices have also plummeted to such an extent that it is negatively going to affect our production,” he said.
Mr. Fofie further said, “Normally there is what we call fatigue. If the trees bear so much over the year, fatigue sets in and they don’t actually bear the way we want it.
“The issue is not just having good weather, the distribution of rainfall pattern is very important. If you need rainfall at a particular point in time for the development of the tree and you do not have water, it means you are creating a stifling effect on the trees itself. There is stress at a certain point,” he explained.
He stressed the need to add more trees to the existing population to boost production, stressing that COCOBOD was working towards to attain that feat.
“We have a lot of interventions in place including the right use of chemicals to stem diseases and application of fertilizers to boost production,” he added.
Source: Daily Guide
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