Bloomberg News

Ghana Starts Second Round of Cocoa-Disease Prevention Program

September 02, 2011

Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Ghana, the world’s second-biggest cocoa producer, started its campaign to spray chemicals against diseases and pests that hinder output amid hopes for a harvest that may reach a second straight record.

The Ghana Cocoa Board will send a second batch of pesticide and fungicide to farmers this month, after a first round that began in August, said Tony Fofie, chief executive officer of the board.

“We started in the first week of August to protect our crops from black pod and other diseases because our world is hot and humid,” he said in an interview in Accra, the capital, yesterday.

The annual program by the board, known as Cocobod, to provide spray to farmers in the West African nation helped boost 2010-11 output to a record of more than 1 million metric tons by Aug. 18. Good weather, fertilizer use and higher prices for farmers also helped the harvest reach a target that was initially forecast for the 2012-13 season. Black pod rot is a fungus that occurs in times of heavy rain and little sunshine.

Ghana, which neighbors the world’s biggest cocoa producer Ivory Coast, is aiming for output in the next season of between 1.1 million tons and 1.2 million tons, Kwabena Asante-Poku, deputy chief executive officer of the board, said Aug. 26. The harvest is likely to start in October.

Cocoa futures for December delivery gained 0.6 percent, or 11 pounds ($17.82), to 1,956 pounds by 10:17 a.m. on the NYSE Liffe market in London.

--Editors: Emily Bowers, Antony Sguazzin.

To contact reporter on this story: Ekow Dontoh in Accra at edontoh@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.


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