GHANA – Ghana’s cocoa sector is gearing up for a prosperous 2023/2024 campaign as the Ghana Cocoa Council (Cocobod) reveals ambitious plans to secure US$1.2 billion for cocoa purchases, marking a significant increase from the previous year.
The announcement came as the new cocoa year was launched a month earlier than usual, with hopes of boosting production and curbing smuggling.
Fiifi Boafo, the head of public affairs for Cocobod, disclosed the organization’s financial strategy during a press conference on September 9.
According to Boafo, Cocobod intends to source US$800 million through a syndicated loan involving a consortium of international banks and local establishments.
The remaining funds will be raised from various other sources, although specific details were not provided.
The increased budget reflects renewed optimism in the cocoa sector, with authorities aiming for a substantial harvest of 820,000 tonnes, up from the previous year’s production of less than 700,000 tonnes in 2022/2023.
To incentivize cocoa growers, Cocobod set a guaranteed price of 20,943 cedis per tonne of cocoa beans, equivalent to approximately US$1,826.
This represented a remarkable 64% increase compared to the previous price of 12,800 cedis and stands as the highest price in Ghana’s cocoa history.
The significant price hike is expected to empower farmers to invest in their plantations, enabling them to utilize fertilizers and phytosanitary products more effectively in the fight against cocoa tree diseases, including the notorious Swollen Shoot disease.
On the other hand, the rising price is supposed to dissuade farmers from selling their beans in Ivory Coast and Togo to significantly limit smuggling during the season which began a month earlier than usual.
Meanwhile, Cocobod relies on a network of approved trading companies that purchase cocoa directly from farmers on behalf of the regulator.
These companies package the beans for delivery to Cocobod’s purchasing centres and receive a commission for their services. The increased guaranteed price is expected to motivate farmers to sell their cocoa locally, strengthening Ghana’s position in the global cocoa market.
The 2023/2024 cocoa campaign is off to a promising start, with Cocobod’s proactive approach garnering optimism within the industry.
As Ghana’s cocoa sector aims for higher production and economic stability, the allocation of US$1.2 billion underscored the country’s commitment to the cocoa industry’s growth and the welfare of its farmers.