Cocoa purchases declared to Ghana's sector body Cocobod reached 717,171 tonnes by March 22 since the start of the 2011/2012 season last October, Cocobod sources said on Monday amid fears of a production shortfall.
The figures, which covered the first 23 weeks of the main crop, were down 3.5 percent the same period last year.
Total purchases for the week ended March 22 were 1,494 tonnes as the harvest begins to tail-off before its expected rebound at the end of April, the sources said.
Ghana, the world no.2 cocoa producer after Ivory Coast, hopes to buy some 950,000 tonnes in the season ending September, up from an original forecast of 850,000-900,000 tonnes.
But key industry players, including farmers have expressed fears that Cocobod might not meet the revised target due to uneven weather conditions likely to stunt pod development.
"We are having uneven rains now and they are not enough to match the long dryness that came before - it is not likely that Ghana will meet this year's target," Lawrence Adu, a prominent cocoa farmer in the Eastern region told Reuters over the phone.