GHANA – After successfully setting cocoa flour prices, Ghana’s Cocoa Board  (COCOBOD) is now set to drive growth in volumes of the commodity as it seeks to net more revenues from the international market.  

The regulator has announced that it will this year distribute about 60 million hybrid cocoa seedlings free of charge to farmers across the cocoa growing districts to plant to increase their yield and incomes.

Kwadwo Danso, Ashanti Regional Manager of Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of COCOBOD, says that the new hybrid cocoa trees are tolerant and resistant to diseases and pest and take two years to reach maturity.

For the cocoa, the size and weight of the pods is critical and according to Danso, the new cultivars produce a large number of pods with large beans sizes.

Danso said the provision of the seedlings were part of several initiatives by COCOBOD to increase crop yield, sustain higher cocoa production and boost incomes of cocoa farmers.

He highlighted initiatives to include the mass spraying and pruning of the cocoa farms, hand pollination, increased fertilizer application as well as rehabilitation of diseased and old cocoa farms.

The regulator is also encouraging the formation of farmer co-operatives, were all geared towards increased cocoa production in Ghana.

Supply to international market

The agreement of a new minimum price between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire has spiked mixed reactions from stakeholders in the sector with some highlighting that Ghana is gambling with the its share in the global cocoa market.

Though the Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire relationship – as the leading producers in the globe – in cocoa marketing may be strategic, some stakeholders are of the view that the US$2,600 per tonne may only benefit the countries in the short run and might not the sustainable in the long run.

According to a recent update by Bloomberg, the world’s second-largest cocoa producer offered to sell beans for the first time since introducing a surcharge, and found no buyers.

However, the Management of Ghana Cocoa Board and its subsidiary the Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC) Limited have denied the reports suggesting that COCOCBOD failed to secure a buyer for its 2020/21 cocoa beans.

“We wish to assure Ghanaian farmers and all stakeholders that the new mechanism has been understood to be the official trading system, and we shall sell at a price for the benefit of our farmers and the sustainability of the cocoa industry,” it said.