The main 2022/23 cocoa crops in Ivory Coast and Ghana are expected to be around 1.65 million tonnes and up to 560,000 tonnes respectively, exporters and pod-counters said.
The West African neighbours are the world's top two cocoa producers with a combined market share of 60% of global supply. Both are gearing up for the main crop, which runs from October to March.
A poll of seven exporters and four counters saw Ivory Coast's main crop next season coming in at between 1.62 and 1.67 million tonnes, roughly in line with the main crop this season.
"Overall, the main crop will be good in Ivory Coast," said one of the counters.
Some cautioned that production could fall below their estimate if temperatures rise too high between October 2022 and February 2023.
"If it's too hot with a rough and strong harmattan (seasonal dry wind), we will see a steady slowdown around January in production," another counter said.
In Ghana, the outlook is more challenging, the respondents said.
Ghana's main crop for 2022/23 is projected at between 500,000 tonnes and 560,000 tonnes, they said, unchanged from the main crop this season, but around 35% below the crop in 2020/21.
'Abrupt And Sudden Drop In Production'
"We have more concerns in Ghana where we expect a much more abrupt and sudden drop in production from January if the climatic conditions present themselves as in other years – a harsh harmattan and sweltering heat," said one manager of an export company.
This year's harmattan from the Sahara was particularly harsh and stunted the growth of cocoa pods in Ghana as it followed a period of severe drought.
Conditions in June and July were also unfavourable, "so our projections are more alarming. But we hope that it will evolve positively by October otherwise it will be complicated," said another pod counter about Ghana.