- Early pods for Nigeria’s main cocoa crop were scorched by dry weather in the country’s southwest, the leading producing region, making it unlikely the official output targets would be met, farmers said.
“Rainfall has been very sparse and scanty for upwards of eight weeks now,” Sola Akingbade, a cocoa farmer based in the town of Yewa, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of the commercial capital, Lagos, said by phone on Friday. “The resultant dry weather has scorched the first fruits on the cocoa trees in my farm.”
- The West African nation set a goal to produce 500,000 metric tons of the chocolate ingredient from the 2014-2015 season as new fields replanted with quick-maturing varieties started producing. It’s currently the world’s number four producer after Ivory Coast, Ghana and Indonesia, with a government-estimated output of 350,000 tons in the 2013-2014. The International Cocoa Organization estimates Nigeria’s output at 240,000 tons for the same period.
- Nigeria has two cocoa harvests, one for the smaller midcrop from April to June, and the other for the main crop from October to December.
- In the Idanre district of Ondo state, which accounts for a third of Nigeria’s output, maturing pods are at risk of falling off trees if the dry spell continues for two weeks, according to Johnson Igbekele, a farmer in the area who spoke by phone.
“Nearly all the ripening buds on the trees are drying up,” he said on Friday. “The ones among them that have developed to pods are beginning to change color due to insufficient rain.”
- Cocoa-bean exports from Nigeria have shown a steady decline since April compared with figures for the 2013/2014 season. July shipments fell 75 percent from the previous year to 2,983 tons, according to data provided to Bloomberg by ports inspection and shipping officials. All exports were shipped to Europe with the Netherlands the biggest recipient with 2,618 tons.