Cocoa is Ghana’s major agriculture export product and the main cash crop that has contributed substantially to the economic development of the West African country.
Ghana is the second largest cocoa exporter and is said to have the best quality cocoa beans on the world market after which comes, Ivory Coast.
The history of cocoa in Ghana dates back to the 19th century when in 1879, Tetteh Quarshie, a native of Osu in the Greater Accra region , returned from Fernando Po with Amelonado cocoa seeds and established a farm at Akwapim Mampong in the Eastern region.
According to some agriculturists, the plant can survive in most regions in Ghana but it highly thrives in rainfall areas such as Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Central, Eastern, Western and the Volta regions of the country.
In Ghana, the cocoa crop cycle commences in October when buying of the main crop start, with the smaller mid-crop cycle beginning in July.
Cocoa farmers in Ghana are obliged by law to sell their produce to Cocobod at a fixed price which normally is dependent on many factors.
Some of the Cocoa from Ghana is also consumed locally by manufacturing firms who use it for the production of chocolate and assorted cocoa beverages.
Chocolate products made from Ghana’s cocoa are said to have distinct excellent taste.
This has made Ghana’s cocoa beans the most sort- after by beverage and chocolate manufacturing firms across the world.
According to COCOBOD, which is the regulator of the cocoa industry in Ghana cocoa employs approximately 800,000 farm families spread over six of the ten regions of Ghana.
The crop is said to generate about $2 billion in foreign exchange annually and is a major contributor to Government Revenue and GDP.
In the 2014-2015 cocoa season, COCOBOD projected a one million ton target, due to the increase of producer price of the commodity by 62.74 percent, which was intended to foster productivity.
During the season, however, the figure was revised to 850,000 tons.
Actuals realized in the season stood at 690,000 -700000 tons.
Ghana’s cocoa output apart from disease control is also dependent on the weather. Good weather translates into a boom season, while the opposite holds.
In the beginning of 2016 for example, a prolonged harmattan season was feared to have impacted cocoa output.
Cocoa employs approximately 800,000 farm families spread over six of the ten regions of Ghana.
The crop generates about $2 billion in foreign exchange annually and is a major contributor to Government Revenue and GDP.
Cocoa products like chocolate, pebbles, and cocoa powder are used by many Ghanaians.