A farmer carries cocoa pods at a farm in Agboville, Ivory Coast. Picture: REUTERS
A farmer carries cocoa pods at a farm in Agboville, Ivory Coast. Picture: REUTERS

Accra — Ghana will delay the start of the new cocoa season as it waits for the proceeds of a $1.3bn syndicated loan to pay farmers, says its industry regulator.

Purchases for the bigger of the two annual harvests would only begin in mid-October, Ghana Cocoa Board CEO Joseph Boahen Aidoo said.

The producer price review committee, which sets the minimum pay for growers, would meet this week, he said.

"We are waiting for the first tranche of the $1.3bn syndicated loan to hit the cocoa board’s accounts before we open the season," said Aidoo.

Ghana was unlikely to lower farmer prices even after a request from Ivory Coast, the biggest cocoa grower, to narrow a gap in producer payments, Aidoo said.

Ghana has paid farmers the equivalent of $1,725 a tonne since October 2016, while Ivory Coast reduced the minimum price for producers to the equivalent of $1,226 a tonne in April.

The two West African nations, which account for more than 60% of global cocoa production, are facing a slump in prices of almost a third in the past year.

Bloomberg

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