Buhler steps up cocoa production in Ghana

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cocoa, Côte d'ivoire, Ghana

Supplier Buhler has boosted machinery supplies to facilities in
Ghana, enabling operations in the country to not only harvest the
beans but process them into cocoa butter and powder.

Expansion of the Ghana operation builds on work already aided by Buhler in the country.

In 2004, Buhler was awarded a multi-million euro contract to expand facilities in Ghana as part of the country's aim to process 40 per cent of the 500,000 metric tonnes of cocoa it produces each year and continue growth in the region.

Now the company has increased its foothold in the area - the world's second largest cocoa exporter - by supplying machinery to a plant capable of processing four metric tonnes per hour and developing cocoa mass into cocoa butter and powder.

Buhler has been carrying out the contract through German firm MAN Ferrostaal, as part of its modernisation and expansion of facilities in the Tema region of the country.

Ghana's cocoa industry experienced a low in the 1980s with cocoa production at 150,000 tonnes in 1983. Low prices and poorly motivated cocoa farmers switched over to competing crops, further aggravating the problems of inefficiency and under-investment.

However, according to the quarterly cocoa bulletin released by the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) this month, farmers produced Ghana's biggest ever crop in 2005/06 with a commercialized main crop of 646,000 tonnes.

The report stated: "This strong output resulted mainly from improved crop management and from the mass spraying of cocoa farms under the Government's Cocoa and Pest Control Programme to limit losses from plant diseases."

The ICCO also attributes the bumper crop to the much higher prices (averaging $0.99 per kg) paid for beans in Ghana than in Cote d'Ivoire.

Related topics: Commodities, Cocoa & Sugar

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