The International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) has reported opposing cocoa production trends from West African producing countries. Côte d’Ivoire, the world’s leading cocoa exporters, are slightly up with 1.340 million tonnes, as of January 30th 2022, compared with the 1.320 million tonnes produced in the same period of 2020/21, representing a 1.5% increase.
Meanwhile, Ghana has taken a heavy hit with an astonishing 53.9% drop in arrivals and purchases of graded and sealed cocoa beans. This takes Ghana’s figures down from 570,000 tonnes last season to just 263,000 tonnes as of January 6th 2022. Cameroon is also said to be experiencing lower than usual cocoa exports for its fourth quarter.
The reason for the drastic drop seen in Ghana is as of yet uncertain. The ICCO comments, “it is unknown whether we are in the presence of a poor season, or other factors are affecting the evacuation of beans from upcountry.” However, there is some speculation about the contributing factors, including logistical disruptions and sub-optimal weather conditions.
Ghana’s second-largest cocoa producing area, the Ashanti region, reported interference in the transport of their dried fermented cocoa. The region, which supplies approximately 22% of the country’s crop, experienced suboptimal rainfall, coupled with the dry Harmattan winds, which hurt production. The same weather conditions are being experienced by their neighbours in Côte d’Ivoire.
If the current dry weather persists, it is likely to reduce the good soil moisture, and this would be a cause for concern for later seasons. HOWEVER, the ICCO remains hopeful for the 2021-22 season, citing the relatively mild Harmattan wind and sufficient rainfall and temperature from past months, as reasons to be optimistic for a good crop.