2018/19 cocoa output expected to drop 6% due to disease, drought

Cocoa output is expected to drop nearly 6% this season to 850,000 tonnes because of disease and dry weather, sources at the cocoa regulator COCOBOD told Reuters last week Wednesday.

Ghana previously forecast production of 900,000 tonnes, the same as the previous season, but revised that lower because of swollen shoot disease and lack of rain since November, which has dented output during the April-September mid-crop.

Mid-crop production is expected to drop to between 140,000 and 160,000 tonnes versus 250,000 tonnes the previous year, sources at the Cocoa Marketing Company and COCOBOD said, outweighing gains seen during the October-March main crop.

In January, pod counters and exporters said the main crop output should make up for any decline in the mid-crop. But in the Brong Ahafo, Ashanti and Western Regions visited by Reuters last week, farmers and buyers had turned pessimistic.

“(The) main crop has been very good … but my concern is the light crop that does not look very good here. There are very few pods in the field right now, because of a lack of rain for three months,” said Kwabena Badu, who farms at Debiso in the Western Region.

Meanwhile, COCOBOD says it has sold around 380,000 tonnes of export contracts for the 2019/20 season, according to sources at the industry’s regulator.

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The COCOBOD sources said between 60,000 and 80,000 tonnes of export contracts were sold during the first 10 days of April.

The sources provided no comparative figure for the 2018/19 season.

The marketing company source said the farmgate price will rise next season from the current season’s GH¢7.6 (US$1.48) per kilogramme of cocoa, because of the weakening cedi.

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