- Ghana, the world's second-largest cocoa producer, is expecting up to a 9% drop in cocoa crop output this year due to the dry season's hot, dusty winds, known as the Harmattan.
- The latest estimate of Ghana's current output is approximately 820,000 metric tons, as compared to a November estimate of 850,000 to 900,000 tons.
- In the year leading up to October 2014, the world consumed 70,000 metric tons more cocoa than was produced, and that deficit is expected to continue until 2018.
Ghana's cocoa crops, which with Ivory Coast make up 70% of the global cocoa market, have taken a beating this year leading up to this most recent announcement. The country saw a slow start to the cocoa season, reporting a 62% drop in purchases in the first three weeks of the season. This was in part blamed on outbreaks of fungal black pod disease, also known as frosty pod, which has wiped out between 30-40% of the world's cocoa production, according to the International Cocoa Organization.
In December, central and northern Ghana received as little as 10% of the expected rainfall, and in addition to less rain, the Harmattan may lead to cocoa trees' loss of their flowers, which turn into cocoa pods. Also, about 30% of Ghana's cocoa crops are comprised of older trees, which produce fewer beans, and it can take about three years for a new tree to start producing beans.
The Chocolate Market: Global Industry Analysis and Forecast to 2020 report sheds light on the current and future state of the cocoa industry.