Ghana to produce one million metric tons of cocoa in 2009

cocoaThe Ghana Cocobod, regulator of the cocoa industry says Ghana would produce one million metric tons of cocoa for the 2008/2009 crop season in the medium term.

The Cocobod whose mission is to promote the production, processing and marketing of good quality cocoa beans shea nut and coffee, also has the responsibility of building capacity for the industry.

Mr. Anthony Fofie, who took office as the CEO of the Cocobod January 1, 2009, said this on a TV3 news bulletin monitored by Wednesday January 14, 2009.

The Cocobod also projected a slight increase in production to one and a half million metric tons of cocoa for 2010.

Mr. Fofie said since 2004 when Ghana’s cocoa production output reached over 700,000 tons, production levels have not gone beyond 600,000 metric tonnes.

He however said the projections for this season are based on weather conditions.

Mr. Fofie made promises of increased bonuses to farmers this season.

Meanwhile, the Cocobod was able to buy only 4.8 percent fewer beans from farmers so far this season because of cross-border smuggling to Ivory Coast that may result in annual output targets being missed. This was revealed by the CEO in an earlier interview with Bloomberg.

The Cocobod was able to purchase 400,000 metric tons of beans from growers since the season began on Sept. 12, 2008 compared with 420,000 tons a year earlier, Tony Fofie was quoted as saying. The Board is targeting production of 600,000 tons by June, when the season ends.

Commenting on the cocoa smuggling menace, he said,“we believe that they are getting more money for the cocoa” in neighboring Ivory Coast. “The cross-border movement is what may stop us from meeting our targets,” he warned.

Ghana is the world’s second-biggest grower of cocoa, after Ivory Coast. Farmers in Ghana receive a fixed price of 1,632 cedis ($1,275) per ton for their cocoa, while in Ivory Coast, fewer controls and poorer-quality beans enable Ghanaian farmers to obtain more money for their product.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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