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Business News of Saturday, 22 September 2012

Source: Daily Graphic

COCOBOD Sure To Meet 2011/2012 Target

The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is optimistic it will meet its 2011/2012 cocoa production target even though harsh weather conditions slowed down its output in the last part of that season.

The Public Relations Manager of COCOBOD, Mr Noah Amenyah, speaking in an interview ahead of the official release of the 2011/2012 production figures later this month, said “the signs were good and we are sure of meeting the target”.

“The weather condition in the season did not help output figures in the period but we are confident the light crop season will make up for the shortfall,” Mr Amenyah said in Accra.

COCOBOD had predicted that the country’s annual cocoa output would close the 2011/2012 season at 850,000 metric tonnes. That season’s target was about 15,000 metric tonnes, lower than the historic one million metric tonnes gross in the 2010/2011 season.

The board had attributed the rather modest target for the 2011/2012 season to what it referred to as the natural life cycle of the cocoa tree, explaining that once production peaked in one season, output was bound to fall in the subsequent season as some of the trees took time off to relax.

However, modest the 2011/2012 output target was, indications were that the country would not be able to achieve it, given the severe temperature, winds and general harsh climatic conditions that impacted negatively on cocoa production in the country and the sub-region at large.

“It is true that the weather was not favourable to us. Those severe temperatures and dry winds caused a lot of the trees to abort some of their flowers and that affected output in a way,” COCOBOD’s Public Affairs Manager said and disagreed that it could make the country miss its target for the season.

The board, he said, grossed in “just about 800,000 metric tonnes in the main crop season” and is now hoping that the light crop season which ended on September 13, would help make-up for the shortfall.

Ghana operates a two-season cocoa production cycle consisting of the main crop season which runs from October to June and a three month light crop season spanning between July and early September.

Purchases of cocoa in the light crop season officially ended on Thursday, September 13 and COCOBOD, the industry regulator, was expected to officially announce total output for that season sometime this month.

The board has meanwhile cut output forecast for the 2012/2013 season to 800,000 metric tonnes from the previous season’s target of 850,000 tonnes, citing the fact that temperatures continued to rise, as well as severe winds and droughts as factors leading to the cut.

The dwindling size in output figures from one million metric tonnes in the 2010/2011 season to the expected 800, 000 tonnes in the 2012/2013 season in Ghana, the second largest grower of the crop, was in line with forecast by the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) that severe climatic conditions will pull cocoa production down, leading to a general rise in prices of chocolate which is sourced from cocoa.