The erratic rainfall pattern being experienced in the country in recent times as a result of climate change, is impacting heavily on cocoa production.
Ghana recorded 700,000 metric tonnes of cocoa in the 2021-2022 crop season, as against the projected one million tonnes, leaving a shortfall of about 300,000 metric tonnes.
Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, who made this known, said this was the lowest cocoa production in the country in the last fifteen years, and attributed it to the negative impact of climate change.
Addressing cocoa farmers from across the country in Kumasi, he said, the low production from Ghana had created shortage of premium cocoa beans on world market.
Mr Aidoo, said the unstable climate patterns meant that cocoa farmers could no longer rely on natural rain for farming and stressed on irrigation as the way to go for Ghanaian cocoa crops to thrive.
He said a drought which ensued in the last quarter of 2021 and ran into the first quarter of 2022 led to low cocoa production.
Mr Aidoo said in 2020, the climate was unfriendly to the extent that the month of July was short of its traditional rainfall pattern and in the last quarter of the year 2021, thus October, November and December, which were known as arid periods, Ghana recorded significant amount of rains.
“It is a worrying sign, a time will come that if we are not careful, there will not be cocoa”, he said
The CEO said COCOBOD had been in touch with the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority to discuss possible ways to help cocoa farmers with a reliable source of irrigation water for production.
Mr Aidoo used the occasion to appeal to Ghanaian farmers to desist from smuggling their cocoa beans to neighbouring Ivory Coast for sale, saying, that would not help the situation in the country.
Touching on why the syndicated loan for the purchase of cocoa this year was delayed, he said the downward grading of Ghana by credit agencies affected the decision of the creditors.
“It has been difficult, but because we have good records, we had $ 1.13 billion U.S Dollars instead of $ 1.3 billion”, he stated.
Mr. Aidoo expressed concern about the non-payment of cocoa beans purchased by Licensed Buying Companies, which created an impression that the government had not paid cocoa farmers, and called on the companies to pay farmers promptly.