Several reports quote cocoa traders in Ghana who predict a record crop in the current cocoa year. Ali Basma, managing director of Akuafo Adamfo Marketing Company, one of the largest cocoa buyers in the country, predicted that the crop could reach 800,000 tons this year. The head of the COCOBOD, Ghana’s cocoa board, was not as sanguine about the prospects and predicted only that this year’s crop will match the 703,000 tons produced during the last year. Timely deliveries of pesticides and fungicides and less rain are key conditions to keep black pod disease at bay. Black pod disease poses the most serious threat to Ghana and its neighbor’s cocoa crops.
Of course, the farmers have to cooperate and that means it has to be worth their while. In that context, one bit of news is not favorable. According to a report by Peace FM Online, farmers in one district have not yet been paid the bonus released by the COCOBOD. A representative of Armajaro Company Limited, a licensed cocoa buying company and one of the large global traders, confirmed that payments had not been made.
Despite the Ivorian Farmer’s protests I reported on earlier, they currently receive a higher price than their Ghanaian counterparts. That leads to smuggling and the Ghana News Agency reports that is abetted by customs officials along the Ivorian border. The new producer prices announced earlier this month should help curtail smuggling, but if it persists, the official harvest may well be lower than predicted.
UPDATE: The operations director for Armajaro Company Limited has denied that the company has refused to pay bonus to farmers. Apparently, a former employee of Armajaro has some disagreements with the company that led to the accusation. The operations director indicated that the company has been trying to get the names of the farmers who haven’t been paid so that they can take care of the missing payments.