Data published in its latest market report by the main regional cocoa associations for the third quarter of 2021 indicated that grindings substantially increased in Europe, South-East Asia and North America. The European Cocoa Association (ECA) published data indicating a year-on-year expansion of 8.7% from 345,730 tonnes to 375,811 tonnes in grindings.
Similarly, the Cocoa Association of Asia (CAA) posted a year-on-year increase of 4.1% from 202,665 tonnes to 210,970 tonnes. Furthermore, processing activities improved in North America during the third quarter of 2021 with the National Confectioners’ Association (NCA) reporting a 4.3% increase from 118,264 tonnes to 123,399 tonnes of cocoa beans grinded.
The ICCO said at the end of the 2020-21 cocoa season, the cumulative grindings of ECA members totalled 1,434,631 tonnes, up by 50,658 tonnes from the level reached at the end of the previous season.
In South-East Asia, cumulative grindings soared by 3% year-on-year to 863,239 tonnes in 2020-21. Over the same period, grindings in North America rose by 6% from 455,002 tonnes to 483,117 tonnes.
The ICCO said that even though grindings increased year-on-year in Europe, North America and Southeast Asia for the third quarter of 2021, this was not sufficient to absorb excess production.
Prices of the nearby contract, or settlement price tumbled by 9% and 6% in London and New York respectively in October – and origin differentials generally remained low year-on-year.
Swollen shoot virus
Ghana recently reported that it has been producing below 800,000 tonnes of cocoa because of the cocoa swollen shoot virus that has gradually spread to cover every region in the country.
According to the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, 12 strains of the cocoa swollen shoot virus disease have been identified, with the strains in the Western Region and adjoining areas of the Bono and Ahafo Regions more virulent than the other strains in the country.
Joseph Boahen Aidoo, CEO of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), told local media: “Close to 20% of the productive cocoa area in the country has been affected by this disease. This has led to low productivity and low incomes for cocoa farmers.”
He has urged cocoa farmers and service providers to be ready for the increase in production base and that COCOBOD is working to rehabilitate the devastated areas including overaged cocoa farms.
In neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire, the world’s top cocoa producer, recent heavy rains could give an early boost to the main October-March crop just as the harvesting begins, local farmers reported.
Farmers reported to local media that they welcomed the uncharacteristically abundant rainfall, which they expect will help trees heavy with cocoa pods survive the upcoming dry season.
“We are happy because those rains were very helpful. They will help cocoa trees become strong and cross well into the dry season,” Herve Dalli, a farmer from Soubre, told Reuters.