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Ghana has cut its cocoa harvest forecast and here is why

Ghana has reduced its forecast for the current season’s cocoa harvest by 6 percent.

A cocoa farmer in Ghana

This is because of plant disease in its biggest growing region.

According to Bloomberg, two people familiar with the matter indicated that Ghana cut its production estimate from 900,000 tons to 850,000 metric tons for the annual crop through September.

Cocoa plantations have been infected with the swollen shoot virus. This virus can cause abnormally shaped pods and lead to lower yields.

Though the sickness is common across cocoa growing countries in West Africa, the current outbreak in western Ghana is particularly severe.

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Another source added that the hot, dry weather in the first quarter and aging trees are also contributing to a smaller crop.

A spokeswoman for Ghana Cocoa Board declined to comment when visited at her office.

Cocoa production in Ghana is set to slow after the harvest got off to a quick start this season, with bean purchases exceeding the previous year’s by a fifth in the first two months through November. The difference narrowed to 5.4 percent by March 28, when the regulator’s purchases totaled 693,685 tons.

Ghana is the world’s second-biggest cocoa producer. Cote d’Ivoire is the world’s number one producer of cocoa.

The country accounts for close to a fifth of global output and produced 899,209 tons last season.

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