Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) says it is confident that it will achieve its targeted output for 2015-2016 crop-year harvest target of 850,000 metric tonnes, tthough the harmattan weather condition at the beginning of this year impacted negatively on the 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 condition 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 that the 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 an unfavourable weather condition led to the country’s missing its target.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance has presented a paper to Parliament, asking for approval to enable the Cocobod to raise US$2billion from a consortium of international banks to finance the purchase of cocoa beans in the 2016/17 crop season.
The US$2 billion is higher than the US$1.8 billion which was approved and raised by the Board in the 2015/16 season for the purchase of 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 of which the US$2 billion would be used to purchase.
A Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr. Cassiel Ato Forson, who laid the paper said, the facility was to enable Cocobod to raise adequate funds to purchase cocoa beans from farmers through licensed buying companies (LBCs).
He requested Parliament to waive the stamp duty which government would serve as the guarantor. The paper showed that Cocobod would be required by the Stamp Duty Act, 2005 (Act 689) to pay one per cent 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 per cent.
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 the minor light crop (11-week) which is discounted to local processing firms including the state-owned Cocoa Processing Company (CPC).