Nigeria’s Cocoa Output Seen by Industry Rising 10% in 2013-14
By Emele Onu
Cocoa output in Nigeria, the world’s fourth-biggest producer, is expected to advance by 10 percent in 2013-14 as rising prices last year lead to the planting of more disease-resistant beans, an industry group said.
Cocoa rallied 21 percent in New York last year partly on speculation dry weather would damage crops in West Africa. The farm-gate prices for cocoa beans increased 40 percent to 420,000 naira ($2,592) per metric ton as of Jan. 23, from 300,000 naira a year ago, said Robo Adhuze, spokesman for the Cocoa Association of Nigeria.
“Output for 2013-14 will probably rise by 10 percent as higher prices enable more farmers to buy agrochemicals to protect their crops,” Adhuze said in a Jan. 24 interview in Lagos, the commercial capital. The association is still collating data for the year, he said. Nigeria will harvest 225,000 tons of cocoa this season, Amsterdam-based trader Continaf BV estimated.
Nigeria’s main crop, being harvested now, can be affected by fungi diseases such as the black pod “but the impact on production is minimal owing to pest control,” Adhuze said.
The country’s main crop begins in October and ends in January, while the smaller light-crop season usually begins in March and ends in June. The start and end dates of the seasons may vary each year depending on the weather.
Nigeria is distributing early-maturing, high-yielding, disease-resistant beans that mature in about 18 months to farmers to replace the traditional crop with four to five years maturity, Malachy Akoroda, chief executive of the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, said in August.
The nation plans to double cocoa production to 500,000 tons by next year, Akinwunmi Ayo Adesina, minister of agriculture and natural resources, said June 6. The new crop varieties supplied by government produce 1 1/2 tons of cocoa per hectare (2.47 acres) each season compared with the older types which yield 1/2 ton, Adhuze said.
Africa’s leading crude producer and most populous nation ranks behind the Ivory Coast, Ghana andIndonesia as the world’s largest cocoa producer, according to the London-based International Cocoa Organization.
Posted by Hope for Nigeria