Following the government’s directive to Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) regarding the start of the new season, the Ghana Cocoa Board has disclosed that the opening of the upcoming cocoa season for 2023/2024 is set on Friday, September 8, 2023.
Meanwhile, this decision has been made in response to recent disruptions in the internal marketing of cocoa and is aimed at safeguarding the interests of cocoa farmers.
According to a statement issued by Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Chief Executive of COCOBOD, the official opening event will take place on Saturday, September 9, 2023.
Consequently, the 2023 Light Crop Season concluded at the end of business on Thursday, August 31, 2023.
Assisting Licensed Buying Companies in Obtaining Final Returns
To assist Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) in obtaining final returns from up-country, COCOBOD has extended the deadline for accepting returns on declared purchases until 4:00 PM on Thursday, September 7, 2023.
Ghana has two cocoa seasons namely the Main crop season and the Light crop season.
Cocoa beans harvested during the main crop season are usually exported, while the ones for the light crop are supplied to local processors.
The main crop season runs from October to May, while the light crop season is from June to September.
The close of the light crop season indicates preparations are underway for the main crop season.
Meanwhile, in an effort to buy cocoa beans for the 2022/2023 cocoa crop season, a team from COCOBOD, the Bank of Ghana and the Ministry of Finance raised about US $1.3 billion in the annual Cocobod syndicated loan.
This loan has helped to boost the dollar supply and reduced the exchange rate pressures on the Ghana Cedi and slow down the recent rate of depreciation.
The first tranche of the $1.3 billion COCOBOD Cocoa Syndicated Loan hit the Bank of Ghana’s (BoG) account by October last year, 2022.
The second tranche of $390 million, which was spread over three months, also hit the account in November 2022 and February 2023.
Meanwh, six banks helped COCOBOD to raise the funds, or acted as Lead Arrangers for the Cocoa Syndicated Loan programme.
The banks were Standard Chartered Bank, Rabo Bank, Ghana International Bank and French Investment Bank – Natixis.
Ghana, the world’s second-largest cocoa-growing country, has forecast 750,000 tonnes of cocoa production in the 2022-2023 crop season.
The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) said the country’s graded and sealed (G&S) cocoa arrivals increased at 350,000 tonnes since the start of this year’s harvest.
Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are the two largest cocoa-growing countries, accounting for over 60% of global cocoa production.
In its latest report (December 2022), the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) said that cocoa production during 2021-22 dropped year-on-year in both Côte d’Ivoire (-6%) and Ghana (-34%) as a result of periodically inappropriate weather conditions in the region and the devastating effect of the Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) in Ghana.