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Ghana Cocoa Harvest Decline Causes Higher Global Prices

People work with cocoa beans in EnchiENCHI, Ghana/LONDON (Reuters) – A poor cocoa harvest in Ghana has left the world’s number two producer struggling to fulfil sales contracts and is driving up the price of the commodity on global markets.

The unexpected fall in production, which farmers blame on a lack of pesticides and bad weather, could leave the world’s leading chocolate makers short of beans and deal a fresh blow to the West African country’s precarious finances.

Senior government sources now estimate Ghana’s 2014/15 crop will not exceed 700,000 tonnes, far below industry regulator Cocobod’s initial forecast of more than one million tonnes.

“There has been a crop failure and the latest indication is that our best (output) is around 690,000-700,000 tonnes,” a government source who declined to be identified told Reuters.

Ghana had a crop of about 900,000 tonnes in 2013/14.

“This year every farmer is crying,” said Johnson Mensah, who serves as chief farmer for Western Region South, which has 174,000 cocoa farmers. “We haven’t experienced a season like it in a long time.”

European traders said the shortfall means Ghana might be unable to supply around 150,000 to 200,000 tonnes of cocoa which it has sold and may seek to roll those contracts forward to next season.

Ghana’s cocoa is sold to international buyers by the state-owned Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cocobod. Cocobod did not respond to requests for comment.


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