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Ghana’s Cocoa Harvest Exceeds 1 Million Tons in 2010-11

Aug. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Ghana’s cocoa harvest exceeded 1 million metric tons for the first time, as increased fertilizer use and pest and disease control spurred output in the ongoing 2010-11 crop season.

The total harvest in the world’s second-biggest producer of the beans, including the October-to-May main crop, reached an “unprecedented” 1,004,194 tons by Aug. 18, the Ghana Cocoa Board said in an e-mailed statement today. The 10 weeks of the light crop, which started in June, produced 87,384 tons, it said.

The record output was as a result of “adherence to good agronomic practices, payment of remunerative producer price, application of fertilizers, disease and pest control, use of hybrid cocoa seedlings and scientific research,” according to the Accra-based board, also known as Cocobod.

Ghana set a minimum price that farmers would be paid for a ton of beans at 3,200 cedis ($2,098) at the start of the harvest in October, 33 percent higher than a year earlier. Cocobod also cut prices for fertilizers and provided disease- and pest-controling chemicals to farmers.

Ghana initially forecast reaching the 1 million-ton mark in the 2012-13 season, said Kwabena Asante-Poku, deputy chief executive officer of Cocobod, in an interview on Aug. 24.

The board, which oversees the cocoa industry in the West African nation, plans to raise production to 1.1 million tons next year, Asante-Poku said. Favorable weather could enable output of as much as 1.2 million tons, he said.

Ivory Coast is the world’s biggest producer of the chocolate ingredient. Deliveries to ports in the country, which neighbors Ghana, reached 1.376 million tons by Aug. 14, according to a document obtained from the industry regulator.

Cocoa futures for December delivery gained 1.5 percent, or 28 pounds ($45.54) to 1,938 pounds by 1:39 p.m. on the NYSE Liffe market in London today.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

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