Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) says it is confident that it will achieve its targetted output for the 2015-2016 crop-year harvest target of 850,000 metric tonnes, though the harmattan weather conditions at the beginning of this year impacted negatively on farming activities.
“We are on course to achieving our target for 2015/2016. We set for ourselves 850,000 metric tonnes (m/t) and so far, from the production that we have had till now, we are on course to achieving it.
“The weather conditions will not affect output of cocoa yields. If you compare the production levels of last year and this year, it shows an improvement; that the country is doing well in spite of the fact weather was severe and the harmattan season was very long.
“We are looking forward to achieving the target that we have set for ourselves because the performance has been good,” said Cocobod’s Public Affairs Manager, Noah Kwasi Amenyah.
The Board set a target of 850,000 metric tonnes for the 2015/2016 — up from the 800,000 metric tonnes from the previous crop season. A combination of factors including unfavourable weather conditions led to the country missing its target.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance has presented a paper to Parliament asking for approval to enable the Cocobod raise US$2billion from a consortium of international banks to finance the purchase of cocoa beans in the 2016/17 crop season.
The US$2billion is higher than the US$1.8billion that was approved and raised by the Board in the 2015/16 season for purchasing some 850,000 metric tonnes of the beans. This year, the Board is hoping the country will produce 900,000 metric tonnes of the crop, which the US$2billion will be used to purchase.
A Deputy-Minister of Finance, Mr. Cassiel Ato Forson who laid the paper, said the facility is to enable Cocobod raise adequate funds to purchase cocoa beans from farmers through licenced buying companies (LBCs).
He requested Parliament to waive the stamp duty, for which government will serve as guarantor. The paper showed that Cocobod will be required by the Stamp Duty Act, 2005 (Act 689) to pay one percent as tax on the facility.
As of February this year Cocobod had started the repayment of last season’s loan, which attracted an interest rate of 1.19 percent.
Ghana operates a two-cycle cocoa year consisting of a 33-week main crop (October-June), which is mainly exported to Europe and Asia, and a minor light crop (11-week) that is discounted to local processing firms including the state-owned Cocoa Processing Company (CPC).