Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world’s top cocoa producers, will deepen collaboration in order to coordinate their production strategies to tackle price volatility, the heads of the two country’s marketing boards said on Wednesday.
The two countries plan to hold regular meetings and are establishing a technical committee to discuss how best to manage production and ensure sustainability, they said following a meeting in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital, Abidjan.
The two west African countries have been liaising on the front of cocoa smuggling across their respective borders. Farmers on both sides are known to try selling their produce where they are likely to get the best deal leading to cases of smuggling.
Ghana recently announced plans to introduce hand pollination of cocoa seedlings and to begin irrigating farms as part of plans to boost production.
The west African nation is the world’s second largest cocoa grower – only behind its western neighbour Ivory Coast – and aims to boost production to 1 million tonnes by 2020.
The government is hiring around 5,000 people to pilot artificial pollination in some 30 districts this year and will also provide solar pumps to irrigate farms in the dry season, deputy agriculture minister William Agyapong Quaittoo said.
Last week, the chief executive of the regulator, Cocobod, said Ghana was on track to exceed its revised 800,000-tonne target for cocoa this season due to good rains this year.
Cocobod has typically bought in ready pollinated seedlings from growers to feed its nurseries, or relied on natural pollination by wind and birds.