IVORY COAST- According to the International Cocoa Organization’s (ICCO) latest quarterly bulletin, the global cocoa market will experience a deficit of 439,000 tons in the 2023/2024 season, 18% higher than the initial forecast of 372,000 tons as the sector continues to struggle with pricing and supply chain challenges. 

This predicted deficit revision is attributed to lower-than-predicted harvests in Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Nigeria due to inadequate rainfall, the Swollen Shoot disease, and orchard aging.

In Ghana, cocoa production is expected to plummet from the record 1 million tons recorded in the 2021/2022 season to 492,000 tons in the current season. Cocoa export earnings are also expected to decline by 50% this season compared to the 2022/2023 season. Ghana has also lost more than 150,000 tons of cocoa from smuggling in the 2023/2024 season. 

In Ivory Coast, cocoa production is expected to plummet to 1.75 million tons, a 23% decline from the previous season’s 2.3 million recorded output. Cocoa exports are also expected to decline by between 28% and 35% in the 2023/2024 season. The decline is mostly due to the spread of the swollen shoot disease, which has spread in 11 out of the country’s 13 cocoa-producing regions. 

ICCO predicts an 11.7% decline in cocoa bean production worldwide to 4,461 million tons. The organization also predicts grindings to decline by 4.3 million tons to 4,855 million tons in the 2023/2024 season.  

The organization also predicts cocoa stocks will decline to 1,328 million tons at the end of the season, the lowest stock recorded in the past five decades. 

ICCO encouraged governments, farmers, chocolatiers and other stakeholders to invest in enhancing the cocoa sector’s supply chain and production. The board called for increased investments in farming especially in the two largest cocoa producing countries. Providing pesticides, seedlings, fertilizers and other farm inputs will go a long way in improving cocoa production in the medium and long term.  

The organization also called for investments in the chocolate value chain to enhance supply chain efficiency. 

ICCO predicted a stabilization of cocoa prices from the 2024/2025 season. 

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