Chocolate production in danger as hot winds threaten Ghana’s cocoa output

The overly hot and dry winds in West Africa are threatening the high production of cocoa for the second year in Ghana.

According to the Reuters News Agency, their sources said the 2019/2020 could fall from 820,000 to 790,000 tonnes which could affect global prices.

Cocoa prices on Intercontinental Exchange are mearing their highest in three years. This is partly due to the weather condition which is also affecting Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer.

A source at Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod), said the weather is a major challenge for them this year. It has not rained for over four months in Ghana. The weather is hot and there are very few flowers, cherelles [young cocoa pods] and pods in the fields.

The International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) said between 2018 and 2019, Ghana produced 815,000 tonnes. The ICCO said this was below the international body's initial projection of 900,000 tonnes issued in February 2019. The ICCO is expected to publish its first projections for 2019-2020 crops later this month.

An analyst at a large chocolate maker said "people have been reducing their numbers but not by 50,000 tonnes. Arrivals so far have been quite good and at this stage, [there's only] the mid crop and tail-end of the main crop [left]."

As of January 16, cocoa arrivals at Ghanaian ports stood at 596,000 tonnes from the start of the season (October 1). This is an increase from the 591,000 tonnes recorded in the same period last season.

However, local exporters are still concerned. The director of a European company based in Accra said "we [have been] forced to lower our predictions."

Ghana and Ivory Coast produce more than 60 percent of the world's cocoa. However, the weather in the sub-region this year has affected both countries. Ivory Coast’s situation is more severe since farmers and middlemen there have been hoarding in anticipation of higher prices next season.

In Ghana it is difficult to hoard as the market is tightly controlled by the government.

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