The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) says it is expecting a harvest of one million metric tonnes of cocoa for the 2020/2021 cocoa crop season. This expectation is informed by the introduction of the proposed Fixed Living Income Differential (LID), which was agreed upon by all the players within the sector.
Per the Living Income differential (LID) agreement, a tonne of cocoa will be sold at US$400 and this mean that Ghana can accrue US$400 million from the sale of the projected one million tonnes of cocoa beans.
Speaking on the ‘Executive Breakfast Show’ on Class FM, which was monitored by Ghana Talks Business, Mr Aidoo, the Chief Executive of the COCOBOD said they are on course to achieve the target.
“Certainly, we can achieve the US$400 million. The season starts in October and already we are bagging in; the buyers, the brands, all of them are paying US$400. Barry Callebaut, Cargill, you can recall, are buying in.”
Again, he adds that “the World Cocoa Foundation has accepted the LID. EU made a categorical statement in Berlin that it supports the LID. This is the greatest thing to ever happen to this country”, he added.
The Cocoa sector in Ghana is faced with a myriad of challenges and these challenges continue to affect cocoa beans production in the country.
From a record yield of 1 million metric tonnes in 2010/2011 crop season, production has continued to decline since 2012/2013.
In the 2012/2012 crop season, production dropped from 1 million metric tonnes the previous season to 835 tonnes.
However, production increased slightly from 835 in 2012 to 897 in 2013/2014. This figure however dropped to 740 in 2014/2015 and slightly shot up to 778 in the 2015/2016 season.
It further increased from 778 in 2015/2016 to 969 in 2016/2017, but since then production has been declining. For instance, cocoa production reduced from 969 in 2016/2017 to 905 in 2017/2018. The figure further dropped to 900 tonnes in 2018/2019 season.
Changing the narrative
But the COCOBOD is hoping that the situation will change in the 2020/2021 crop season, with the introduction of the LID and the roll out of some other measures.
Consequently, Mr Aidoo said “we are now going to roll out mass pruning”, explaining: “Mass pruning is key to cocoa productivity.”
Additionally, he disclosed that “less than 5% of cocoa farmers were doing mass pruning”, adding that “without pruning, you cannot have your yield.”
Mr Boahen Aidoo further remarked his outfit had brought in 100,000 motorised slasher pruners which will be distributed to farmers for use.
What this means is that the farmers are going to move from the traditional method of farming to a more modernised form, that is moving from the use of machetes to doing technical farming, he further added.
He, again, emphasised that COCOBOD is waiting for the first rain to set in before embarking on the mass pruning exercise across the country, adding that “every farm is going to be pruned. Once you prune the cocoa trees, you are sure of improved yield.”
Ghana and Ivory Coast introduced the LID in July 2019 on all cocoa sales for the 2020/2021 season, to ease pervasive farmer poverty in their various countries.
Living Income Differential
Ghana and Ivory Coast, together, control 70% of the global production of cocoa, and put a $400 premium on each metric tonne of the commodity purchased.
Ghana produced an unprecedented one million tonnes of cocoa during the 2010/2011 crop-year, but has since failed to match that achievement.