(Ecofin Agency) - In Ghana, the 2017-18 cocoa season could be one of the worst in recent years.
Joseph Aidoo, head of Ghana’s cocoa board (Cocobod), said that the country expects 700, 000 tons for the current season, a volume far below the 950, 000 tons produced during the previous season.
This is attributed to poor rainfall during recent times. “We’ve bought the bulk of our cocoa for the season. We’re hoping to get something from the light crop - about 50,000 or a little above. That takes us to around 700,000 or a little above 700,000 tonnes,” Mr. Aidoo said.
Observers are however worried that COCOBOD could default on the $1.3 billion syndicated loan, incurred in September 2017 as it forecasted a production of 850,000 tons for this season.
This is another challenge for the cocoa sector, which is already constrained by its wish to maintain a high producer price and the need to cope with the plunge in international prices that has already led to a $1 billion deficit.
In a bid to keep up with the soaring prices government in january announced that the tariff for producers would be pegged at 70% of the cocoa price on the international market for 2018/2019 season subject to approval by President Nana Akufo-Addo.
It is also important to recall that the regulator plans to borrow $1.3 billion in September to purchase 900,000 tons of cocoa during the next season.