High Hopes For Cocoa Production-Farmers

Cocoa farmers in the country are optimistic the relative Harmattan wind so far in the country could boost production and help the country reach its production targets.

Industry regulator, the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is hoping to achieve a target of between 850,000 and 900,000 tonnes in the 2016-2017 crop season compared to 780,000 tonnes during the 2015-2016 crop season.

The season runs from October 2016 to September 2017.

Market watchers are optimistic the incoming government led by President-elect, Nana Akufo-Addo will craft policies that will boost cocoa production above one million tonnes.

Reuters said Harmattan, a ‘northerly wind’ that blows dust off the Sahara from December to March, last year dented the harvest in Ivory Coast and Ghana, respectively the world’s top two cocoa growers.

“It is not that severe compared to previous years … It is not having that much impact on the crop,” said Samuel Antwi, a farmer in Ashanti Region of central Ghana.

Other growers across the country echoed Antwi’s view. Ghana has hundreds of thousands of small-holder cocoa growers, making it difficult to survey opinion.

Many told Reuters in November that they were concerned about the onset of the Harmattan.

But Joseph Portuphy, the officer in charge of forecasting at Ghana Meteorological Agency, agreed that the Harmattan has been less harsh this year, though he added that there has been no rain in Ghana since December 20.

Ghana recorded about 780,000 metric tonnes of cocoa production for the 2015/2016 crop season.

The nation still fell short of about 70,000 metric tonnes of cocoa beans.

In 2014/2015 crop season, the nation bagged 740,000 metric tonnes of cocoa beans.

Ghana is however still the second leading exporter of cocoa beans in the world, trailing Ivory Coast, which is producing more than 1.4 million metric tonnes of cocoa beans.

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