Severe harmattan cuts cocoa output

cocoa sprayingThe General Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) has revealed that the 2015/16 cocoa season may yet face another decrease in production due to the prolonged harmattan season which kills cocoa flowers before they grow into pods.

In the 2014/15 season, a similar weather condition, as well as diseases, caused cocoa output to decline by 23 percent, dropping from 900,000 metric tones to 700000 metric tones.

Speaking to Citi Business News, the Secretary General of GAWU, Mr. Edward Kareweh stated that this year’s harmattan season is unprecedented and may affect cocoa production adversely.

“This year’s harmattan season will seriously affect all those crops that are growing around this time. If you look at a crop like cocoa; they need a lot of rain, moisture and humidity at a certain level all the time”, he said.

Mr. Kareweh revealed that output of some plantation crops such as palm oil, banana, and mango, may also see a decrease by the second quarter of this year due to the severity in the harmattan season.

He pointed out that cocoa could be the hardest hit since it requires a lot of moisture in its pod development stage. “Cocoa output will be constraint”, he said adding that it will adversely affect cocoa farmers in the harvest period.

In the 2015 national budget, Finance Minister, Mr. Seth Terkper announced that the crops sub-sector which includes cocoa, was the largest contributor in the Agriculture sector , contributing 74 percent .

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