The prospects for West Africa’s current mid-crop cocoa harvest has improved after suffering from the driest circumstances in over a decade. Heavy rains in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, which together produce more than half of the world’s cocoa, have given hope for a better harvest.
In comparison to the record combined output of 3.3 million tonnes in the 2020/2021 season, production in the two countries will be lower this year. The recent rains, however, has allayed fears of a substantial drop in production. GRO estimates overall production in the two countries to be around to 2.9 million tonnes in the 2019/2020 season, which had similar growth conditions.
The mid-crop harvest of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, which runs from April to September, contributes for roughly 20% of the combined total production of the two countries. The main agricultural harvest, which runs from October to March, was aided by above-average rainfall in the summer of 2021.
Soil moisture levels in both countries’ cocoa-growing regions hit new lows in early 2022, but have since recovered to about typical levels for this time of year. Rainfall in March and April was above the 10-year average, bringing Gro’s Drought Index down from February’s highs. Drought levels reached “extreme” in some sections of Côte d’Ivoire and “severe” in Ghana, but both nations now fall into the “moderate” category.
Cocoa futures prices on the New York market, currently trading at $2,511 per tonne, hit a season high of $2,830/tonne on February 11, well below the $3,417/tonne high of the 2015/2016 season and just under the 2019/2020 season high of $2,988/tonne.