Cocoa farmers in Nigeria under the umbrella of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN) has revealed that Nigeria may lose $765 million worth of cocoa output due to the impact of heavy rainfall with the probability of black pod disease which could hurt the crop this farming season.
The president of the cocoa association in Nigeria, Sayina Riman, disclosed this to newsmen in an interview. He noted that the 2018/2019 farming season has been experiencing lots of flash floods and poor sunshine.
Riman, who farms on 170-hectare cocoa plantation in Cross Rivers State, lamented on the impact of poor sunshine and heavy rainfall across cocoa-growing regions in Nigeria. He stressed that “besides preventive mould, sunny weather is also needed for a bigger bean size. Black pod is coming and it would be evident in the main crop“.
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“Cocoa trees need a delicate balance of rainy and dry weather. Too little rain and they wither; too much and they become susceptible to insects or fungal black pod disease. Beans can also go mouldy if small farmers are unable to dry them outside.
“the trees are at the fruiting stage of the main crop but the weather could affect the pod formation.”
Cocoa production: Riman further explained that CAN’s forecast for the 2018/2019 farming season was 325,000 tonnes (80% rise from the 250,000 tonnes last year), which was estimated at $2,353 per tonne, amounting to $764.725 million. The International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) forecast that output will be 245,000 tonnes for the season.
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The CAN helmsman disclosed that the farmgate prices have fallen to around $2,353 which is about N720,000 per tonne from the initial price of N850,000 as at January, stating that the association was anticipating the end of the growing season before revising its figures.
However, Riman noted that prices could regain normalcy after the world’s two largest cocoa producers (Ghana and Ivory Coast) last week, agreed to impose a price floor of $2,600 per tonne on the product.
Poor and unfavourable weather condition is a disadvantage to agricultural production in Nigeria, as it hampers cultivation and output. This, in turn, cuts down on the money farmers could earn from selling their produce, thereby reducing the Agric sector’s contribution to the national GDP.
Note that cocoa has for a long time remained one of Nigeria’s biggest Agric export commodity.