Low rains to reduce cocoa harvest

The Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) says low rainfall expected in the coming months may affect the country's cocoa harvest target of 850,000 metric tonnes in the 2013/2014 season.

“The signals we are getting are that there will be low rainfall in the coming season, and this will affect our cocoa harvest,” Cocobod's Public Affairs Manager Noah Kwasi Amenyah told the B&FT.

“Our agricultural sector depends on the rainfall pattern. If we have low rainfall it will affect production, and if we have heavy rains it will boost production.”

The country is preparing to open the 2013/14 crop on October 18 with an initial target to buy around 830,000 tonnes.

Ghana runs a two-cycle cocoa season consisting of the October-June main crop harvest, which is mainly exported, and the July-September light crop, which is discounted to local grinders.

The country produced 835,410 tonnes of cocoa during the 2012/13 crop year, down 5 percent on the previous season, cumulative provisional data from industry regulator Cocobod showed.

The purchases for the first twenty-nine weeks were 658,663 tonnes compared with 796,394 tonnes for 2011/2012 during the same period representing a decline of 17.3 percent.

The country produced an unprecedented one million tonnes of cocoa during the 2010/1 crop-year, thanks to good weather and improved farming techniques, but production declined to about 850,000 tonnes in the 2011/12 season.

Cocobod said cocoa production tends to fall slightly after a bumper year.

Parliament last month approved a US$1.2billion loan facility to Cocobod for the purchase of cocoa beans in the upcoming crop season.

The credit facility was an arrangement between Cocobod and a consortium of several international and local banks, with government as the guarantor.

helping the international community address major global challenges, including climate change. To achieve maximum impact, the WBG needs to be selective in its efforts while collaborating with partner-organisations and the private sector at both national and Cocoa production will fall 173,000 metric tonnes short of consumption in the 2013/14 season beginning this month, estimates Macquarie Group Ltd.

A 113,000-tonne shortage is forecast for the following year, said Kona Haque, an analyst at the bank who correctly forecast a third- quarter price rally.

Global cocoa prices have begun to recover above US$2,600 per tonne in recent weeks after plummeting below US$2,300 at the beginning of the year.