The Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) has said it is confident of exceeding its 850,000metric tonnes of cocoa beans purchases target for the 2017/18 crop production year.
The state-owned aggregate buyer of cocoa beans is hoping to purchase about 850,000 metric tonnes of cocoa beans in 2017, after years of decline.
The country’s cocoa beans purchases have been declining since the record figure of 1,000,000 metric tonnes in 2010.
“Definitely, Ghana will do more than the 850,000 metric tonnes. We will be able to meet our crop production target,” Cocobod CEO, Mr. Joseph Boahene Aidoo, told journalists.
“The rains have been good for us this year, and the outlook is very good. Indications are that we’re likely to cross the 850,000 mark,” he said.
The country operates a two-cycle cocoa year consisting of a 33-week main crop (October-June) that is mainly exported to Europe and Asia, and the minor light crop (11-week) which is discounted to local processing firms including the state-owned Cocoa Processing Company.
The Cocobod plans to open the 2017/18 cocoa season on Oct 13, later than usual, after receiving part of a syndicated loan it signed this month to cover its purchasing needs. In recent years Cocobod has opened its crop year in the first week of October.
The Board signed a US$1.3billion loan agreement with international lenders this month for the new season’s purchases, estimated at around 850,000 tonnes. The first tranche of the money is expected to arrive in the regulator’s account next week.
The country has maintained its cocoa price at US$1,914 per tonne since a year ago, creating a price gap of more than US$700 per tonne that exporters said has fuelled a wave of cross-border smuggling.
Ghana closed its 2016/17 crop year on Sept. 14 with output expected to total around 950,000 tonnes, the highest since a record 1 million tonnes in 2010/11.
The country produced an unprecedented one million tonnes of cocoa during the 2010-11crop-year, thanks to good weather and improved farming techniques — but production declined to about 850,000 tonnes last season.