Ghana has missed out on nearly $1 billion in export earnings due to a steep decline in global cocoa prices that has also forced Ivory Coast to slash its 2017 budget. David Pollard reports.
They're measuring the quality of the beans in this cocoa warehouse in Tema. Though quantity is in fact the problem. Cocoa prices have plummeted on the back of bumper crops. Ghana is the world's second largest producer - its target of boosting production to 800,000 tonnes this year could now burden it with extra bills. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PROFESSOR OSEI DARKO, UNIVERSITY OF GHANA SAYING: "If prices come down, it is difficult to pass on the decreases in prices to the farmers ... Because government is acting like a buffer, when the prices come down and the prices the farmers are getting is fixed and that difference will have to be absorbed by the state." For the word's number one producer, the slump in demand is just as acute. A 36 per cent cut to the price the Ivory Coast government guarantees producers hitting hard. Forcing it to slash its 2017 budget. And forcing farmers to think again. (SOUNDBITE) (French) COCOA FARMER, EMILE ORSO SAYING: "The future looks like it will be difficult. If the government doesn't support us, we won't be able to educate our children. It has to be a little more on our side." It's shaping into a major challenge for the inter-governmental International Cocoa Organisation. It relocated from London to the Ivory Coast capital, this year. The move seen as a potential boost to local farmers. If not yet for a new leadership in Ghana .... President Nana Akufo-Addo looking at $1 billion in lost export earnings. For an economy which he admitted was 'in a bad way' in his first state of the union address in February.