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April 26, 2011

Ghana cocoa purchases up 45 pct

by Kwasi Kpodo

Cocoa output from world No. 2 grower Ghana is running 45 percent higher than last year, according to official figures on April 14.

Declared purchases by private cocoa buyers to Ghana's industry regulator Cocobod -- the best reflection of output in the West African state -- reached 753,945 tonnes by March 31 since the start of the season in October.

That is up 45 percent over the 518,304 tonnes registered in the same period last year, and ahead of the full-season record of 740,000 tonnes posted in 2005-06. Cocobod is targeting a record output of 850,000 tonnes of cocoa this crop year.

Ghana is seeking to ramp up production further to 1 million tonnes by the 2012-13 season through enhanced farm husbandry, fertiliser application and farmer incentives.

Cocobod said on Thursday it would start offering 'hi-tech' fertilizers to cocoa farmers for half-price starting in May, in a move aimed at improving yields.

There were reports of smuggled cocoa flowing into Ghana from top grower Ivory Coast where political unrest as a result of election dispute has paralysed its cocoa industry.

But Cocobod officials have denied the reports, saying any such inflows would not be more than 40,000 tonnes.

Total purchases for the twenty-sixth week of the season rose to 10,336 tonnes from 9,373 tonnes in week 25.


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