El Nino is affecting everything, even chocolate

The global chocolate market which is expected to grow to $98.3 billion in 2016 from $83.2 billion in 2010, is set to be hit by the effects of El Nino, as harvests drop in Ghana, the world’s second largest cocoa producer. Chocolate is made from cocoa beans.

“My harvest is 40 percent below what I got by the same time last year,” said Samuel Quainoo, a 54-year old farmer who grows cocoa in 124 acres in the western part of Ghana where 55 percent of the country’s cocoa is produced. “The rains failed us. I am at risk of not being able to meet my financial obligations.”

Rains returned to the West African country a month later than usual, hindering development of the pods containing the chocolate beans. The wet season, needed for the crop to develop, began this month instead of September, Charles York, principal meteorologist at the Ghana Meteorological Agency told Bloomberg in an interview.

Rainfall in Ghana was almost 70 percent below normal levels in the 90 days to Oct. 15, according to Speedwell Weather. MDA Weather Services, however, expects the rain in the past few weeks to continue. The Accra-based Ghana Meteorological Agency sees normal rainfall for cocoa growing areas for the rest of the year, York said.

“Farmers really hope and pray that the rains will continue for the rest of October through December so new pods can develop well to help recoup something and save the season,” Quainoo said.

Cocoa production may be less than forecast as the driest third quarter in 35 years hurts the crop, according to Olam International Ltd., the world’s third-largest processor.

With production in Ivory Coast, the world’s largest grower of Cocoa expected to fall, according to Ecobank, prices will rise.

El Nino is responsible for dryness in West Africa where four countries — Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon — are responsible for 70 percent of world cocoa production.