Ghana’s Cocoa Output Could Drop Sharply This Year – Ecobank

Ghana’s Cocoa Output Could Drop Sharply This Year – Ecobank

From agrimoney.com

Ecobank questioned ideas of only a small fall in Ghana’s cocoa harvest this year, warning of the dent to yield prospects from disease, and from the withdrawal of government support for crop spraying and fertilizers.

Cocobod, Ghana’s cocoa industry regulator, on Friday said that it is maintaining its forecast for cocoa production this season at 850,000 tonnes, down from the 900,000 tonnes harvested in 2013-14.

However, Ecobank, a West African banking group headquartered in Togo, said that this season’s output in Ghana, the second-ranked producing country, could fall as much as 23% year on year to 730,000 tonnes, thanks to a range of setbacks.

The drop in Ghana’s production could drive the global cocoa industry into a production deficit in 2014-15 for the first time in several seasons, according to Ecobank estimates.

Last month, the International Cocoa Organization also said that its estimate for Ghana’s cocoa output was below Cocobod’s.

Support for spraying cut

Ecobank noted the threat to Ghanaian production prospects from black pod disease, a fungal infection, which renders cocoa fruit unfit for harvesting, as well as shortening the life and yield of the infected tree.

However, speaking to Agrimoney, Ecobank’s head of research Edward George also linked the dent to prospects to Cocobod cutbacks to fertilizer and insecticide support programmes.

“It’s clear that the reason that production is down is the fact that there hasn’t been the same scale of inputs,” said Mr George, who is based in London.

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