Just a week ago, the first cargo ship left the port of San Pedro laden with cocoa. The chocolate industry can breathe easier again and things, at least related to cocoa, are returning to normal again. That’s good news for cocoa farmers. When the embargo was put in place, the beans already sold to traders simply ended up at the port. But traders quickly stopped purchasing beans from farmers who had few options but to store them at their farm. More enterprising farmers near the Ghanian border smuggled their crop to Ghana to get paid.
Posts Tagged ‘Ghana’
With the new cocoa season underway, Ghana’s Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) announced a 33 percent increase in farm gate prices. The new price of GH¢200 per bag lifts the per ton price to GH¢3,200 ($2,238) from last year’s GH2,400. The new prices recognizes the increases in the world market price over the past year.
More importantly, however, it recognizes the prevalence of smuggling which has cut into Ghana’s exports. With some estimates as high as 100,000 tons smuggled to the Côte d’Ivoire last year alone, stopping this outflow has become a top priority of the COCOBOD. Last year’s harvest amounted to 632,024 tons, 10 percent below the 700,000 tons of the 2008/2009 cocoa year.
COCOBOD seems hopeful that the price increase will lift this years total exports above the 700,000 ton level.
In what has become an annual ritual, Ghana’s Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) managed to secure a $1.5 billion financing facility for the 2010/11 cocoa harvest. In a sign that international credit markets have eased up, the financing facility was oversubscribed. Banks from around the world actually offered $1.8 billion while COCOBOD was only seeking $1.2 billion. In light of the easy credit, COCOBOD increased the facility to $1.5 billion. In another piece of good news, the interest rate dropped from 250 points to 90 points over LIBOR.
Many farmers in Ghana’s Central Region have refused to cut down their cocoa trees infected by swollen shoot disease. That despite the strong urging by political and scientific authorities and sensitization workshops. Authorities consider the removal of infected trees the best method to keep the disease from spreading. So why won’t farmers play along?