Good news for African chocolate lovers as Ghana said to produce biggest cocoa crop in 3 years

TO GO W/ AFP STORY IN FRENCH BY David YOUANT Workers cut cocoa in the southwestern Ivorian village of Godilehiri 01 November 2007 near Divo where cocoa and coffee plantation farmers are upset with suspected misappropriation of cocoa revenue or money laundering. Ivory Coast is the world's leading producer of cocoa, which along with coffee accounts for 40 percent of the country's exports and about 20 percent of gross domestic product. A June report by Global Witness charged that cocoa helped finance low-level armed conflict that has left Ivory Coast divided in two for five years between a government-held south and a rebel north since a foiled coup bid in 2002. AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)

Accra: Ghana has recorded its biggest cocoa harvest in three years, according to two people familiar with the matter, after better weather conditions boosted output in the world’s second-biggest cocoa grower.

Graded and sealed deliveries from the so-called main crop, the larger of two annual harvests, reached 812,153 metric tons by 25 May, said the people, who asked not to be named because the information isn’t public.

That compares with a combined 778,043 tons for the whole of the 2015-16 season, when severe desert winds damaged crops and affected rainfall.

Cocoa output in Ghana and neighbouring Ivory Coast, the top producer, has benefited this year from early rains and a mild Harmattan—winds from the Sahara that bring dry weather and coolness to West Africa from December to February.

Prices for the chocolate ingredient have dropped more than 30% in London in the past year, as analysts predict a large global surplus for the season ending in September.

Ghana cocoa board spokesman Noah Amenyah declined to comment on the crop size.

Ghana has reverted to counting production from its two annual harvests separately for the first time in three years. Main-crop purchases ended 25 May and the smaller light crop will be harvested between July and September, Amenyah said earlier this month. Bloomberg

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