Ghana’s 2023/24 Cocoa Output Expected to Trail Target by Almost 40%, Sources Say

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Ghana’s 2023/24 Cocoa Output Expected to Trail Target

Ghana’s cocoa output for the 2023/24 season is projected to fall nearly 40% below the target of 820,000 metric tons, according to sources from the country’s cocoa sector regulator, COCOBOD. The shortfall is attributed to strong seasonal winds, insufficient rainfall, smuggling, damage from illegal gold mining, and the impact of swollen shoot disease.

The first source noted that the causes of the decline are not immediately remediable through human intervention. As a result, the estimated cocoa output for the season has been revised to around 500,000 tons. In the previous season (2022/23), COCOBOD reported a loss of about 150,000 tons of cocoa due to smuggling and illegal gold mining, locally known as “galamsey.” Additionally, cocoa swollen shoot virus has affected approximately 500,000 hectares of farmlands, leading to a decline in yields and the death of cocoa trees.

Efforts are underway to address these challenges, with the rehabilitation of affected farms expected to result in increased fruiting. Collaboration with security agencies to combat smuggling is also emphasized. Despite the current production challenges, the second source expressed optimism that Ghana has a chance to recover from low production volumes.

Ghana’s production deficit, along with similar challenges in Ivory Coast, has contributed to historic surges in global cocoa prices. Traders are scrambling for supplies, anticipating wider deficits this season, and concerns are growing for the next. The surge in prices is impacting retail shelves, with chocolate makers like Hershey expecting a slowdown in demand from cost-conscious customers.

The president of Ghana’s cocoa buyers group, Samuel Adimado, described the current output expectation as “shattering.” Member firms are reportedly rationalizing their operations to cope with the situation, including downsizing and reassigning staff to remain viable in the bu

 

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