Ghana is now the second largest cocoa producer behind the Ivory Coast on the back of new figures that show the country has pulled in more than 500,000 tons of the commodity.
According to a Ghana News Agency report, the country has upped its cocoa production levels to more than 500,000 tons, an all time high since 1965 levels.
The Ghanian deputy minister for finance Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, who announced the figures last week, attributed the rise in productivity to the Mass Cocoa Spraying Programme. The government initiated this much criticised move in 2001 to control the crop diseases black pod and capsid diseases.
Speaking in Japekrom, a major cocoa growing area in Ghana, Agyeman-Manu said the government was pleased that the spraying exercise, 'which received damnation from critics' had had a positive impact. He announced plans to re-package the Akuafo Cheque System to eliminate fraud and prevent the use of counterfeit notes in the purchasing of cocoa.
The Ghanian production figures follow hot on the heels of those provided by the Ivory Coast last week. The former French colony announced a set of figures that root is firmly as the number one cocoa producer. Despite emerging from a recent civil war - the country still remains divided between its mainly Muslim north and Christian south - the Ivory Coast announced a bumper crop for the 2002/2003 harvest of 1.29 million tonnes, slightly more than the 1.26 million produced in 2002.