Cocoa production for the 2021/22 cocoa season is expected to drop by one-third, due to less favourable weather conditions and the advent of swollen shoot disease,
The worldwide cocoa market will slip into a deficit of 181,000MT in 2021/22 from a surplus of 215,000MT in 2020/21, according to the International Cocoa Organisation’s (ICCO) monthly report for April 2022. From a record 5.226 MMT in 2020/21, global cocoa production will fall by 5.2 per cent to 4.955 MMT in 2021/22.
“Available information on crop sizes in main cocoa origin countries of West Africa suggests that the 2021/22 cocoa season is heading toward a world deficit of approximately 181,000 tonnes mainly due to a shortfall in the Ghanaian production. Indeed, less conducive meteorological conditions and the outbreak of swollen shoot disease are the major contributing factors for the production decline,” the report said.
In April, reports by Reuters suggested that harsh weather conditions due to the harmattan winds are expected to reduce cocoa production in Ghana by at least 31 per cent in 2021/22 from the season before. It further reported that country’s total production is projected not to exceed 710,000-720,000 tonnes this year, mainly because of a climate that has been catastrophic for cocoa.
Consequently, the swollen shoot disease outbreak could further deepen the woes already predicted.
Swollen shoot disease.
In late 2021, 43,281 cocoa trees affected by the swollen shoot disease were destroyed on 106.58 hectares of farmlands in the Dormaa Central Municipality of the Bono Region. The move was made proactively to avoid the disease spreading further.
This disease, according to COCOBOD, is estimated to have an infection rate of 20 per cent of the country’s cocoa trees.
The National Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme has rehabilitated cocoa estates in the country’s Western North Region (NCRP). Swollen shoot disease has struck these areas, wreaking havoc on the country’s main crop.
So far, the program has repaired around 11% of the region’s cocoa fields or 51,537 hectares out of 487,386. COCOBOD initiated the NCRP in 2017 with funding from the African Development Bank (AFDB) to treat virus-affected farms and transplant diseased cocoa plants with disease-tolerant and early-bearing, high-yielding types.
As part of the programme, compensation is also to be paid to participating farmers and landowners for up to two years after the plantation.
Côte d’Ivoire cocoa production.
Cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire is predicted to be lower in 2021/22 than in 2020/21. Cumulative cocoa bean landings in the country as of May 1, 2022, were 1.807 million tonnes, down 3.2% from the previous cocoa year’s period.
“The predicted lower production in Côte d’Ivoire can be attributed to less favourable weather conditions,” according to the ICCO.