September 20, 2019 / 8:11 AM / a month ago

Ghana expected to produce 850,000 tonnes of cocoa in 2019/20 season: industry regulator

Cocoa beans are pictured next to a warehouse in the village of Atroni, near Sunyani, Ghana, April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Ange Aboa

LISBON (Reuters) - Ghana, the world’s second largest cocoa producer, is expected to produce 850,000 tonnes of cocoa in 2019/20 season, at the lower end of average levels on account of the swollen shoot disease outbreak, the country’s industry regulator said on Thursday.

Ghana’s annual cocoa production is usually between 850,000 and 900,000 tonnes, though the country had an official forecast of 900,000 tonnes for the current 2018/19 season, which ends this month.

“Swollen shoot is the main factor bringing down production,” Joseph Boahen Aidoo, chief executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod), an industry regulator, told Reuters on the sidelines of the European Cocoa Forum in Lisbon.

Aidoo also said Ghana would announce the official farmgate price for the 2019/20 season on Oct. 1. The farmgate price is a fixed annual price set and paid by the government to farmers each season.

Ghana’s cocoa output is expected to fall to 830,000 tonnes in the 2018/19 season, which ends this month, on account of unfavourable weather and swollen shoot disease, according to the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO).

Ghana’s fight against the disease has prompted Cocobod to replant of 400,000 hectares of cocoa plants. It will take at least three to five years for the replanted surfaces to come into production.

Reporting by Maytaal Angel; Editing by Tom Brown

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