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Ghana cocoa crop may fall short of expectations due to dry and hot winds

Rainforest

MILAN – Cocoa crop in Ghana, the world’s second largest producer, could miss estimates for the second year in a row due to adverse weather, with overly dry and hot winds. Four local traders and exporters polled anonymously by Reuters said the expected a crop at 790,000 to 820,000 tonnes, far below the 875,000 tonnes forecast in a similar poll in late January.

Weather concerns were confirmed by local sources and by Ghanaian cocoa regulator Cocobod. “It has not been raining for more than four months and the heat is so strong there are very few flowers, cherelles [young cocoa pods] and pods in the fields,” said an Accra-based exporter quoted by Reuters.

Between 2018 and 2019, Ghana cocoa output totalled 815,000 tonnes, according to the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO), falling short of 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.

“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],” an analyst at a large chocolate maker said.

Cocoa arrivals at Ghanaian ports stood at 596,000 tonnes from October 1 – the start of the season – until January 16, up from 591,000 tonnes the same period of the previous season, official figures show.

Cocoa futures on Intercontinental Exchange in London are near their highest in three years, driven in part by the adverse weather. Seasonal Harmattan winds may damage the crop also in neighbouring Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer.