Another shortfall in cocoa target
Ghana bagged only 690,000 metric tonnes of cocoa beans for the 2015/2016 crop season out of a target of 850,000 metric tonnes.
It therefore missed its target by 160,000 metric tonnes.
The shortfall has been attributed to poor managerial policies of the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) and unfavourable weather conditions.
Figures from Cocobod indicate that the country’s highest output for cocoa production was 1,024,552 metric tonnes which was recorded in the 2010/2011 crop season.
The crop yield has since been reducing steadily to 740,254.06 metric tonnes in the 2014/2015 crop season.
An industry watcher who spoke to Business Finder alleged thatCocobod had shunned most of the licensed buying cocoa companies by not providing financial and logistical support to enable them acquire more cocoa beans to meet the country’s production target.
He also alleged that Cocobod took additional $300 million from the banks increasing its borrowing to $2.1 billion in the 2015/2016 crop season.
The cocoa syndication generated $1.8 billion but attracted an interest of $4.1 million from October 2015 to January 2016.
He urged government to investigate the current happenings in the cocoa sector to prevent any further slump in cocoa production.
According to him Cocobod could generate only about 40,000 metric tonnes of cocoa beans between now and September when the light crop season ends due to the current weather pattern and other factors.
This will mean that the total cocoa production for the 2015/2016 crop season will be about 730,000 metric tonnes, leaving a shortfall of 120,000 metric tonnes of cocoa beans still to procure.
He expressed fears that Ghana couldalsomiss its cocoa production target for the 2016/2017 crop season.
He said the targeted 900,000 metric tonnes of cocoa beans for the 2016/2017 crop season looks not achievable because of inadequate fertilizers and logistical support for farmers.
But Public Affairs manager of Cocobod, Mr Noah Amenyah remains confident of meeting the set target.
“We are on course to achieving our target for 2015/2016 crop season; if you compare what the production level is this year to last year, we are doing well in spite of the fact that the weather was very severe and the harmattan was very long,’ he said.
Following parliament’s approval last week, Cocobod is expected to raise about $2 billion as loan to purchase cocoa beans for the 2016/2017.