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Shortage of Cocoa in Nigeria Sparks Competition Among Merchants, Exporters

IBADAN, Nigeria-A shortage of cocoa in Nigeria has sparked competition among merchants and exporters, traders said Monday.

“Most of the farmers are saying there is no cocoa due to the persistent rainfall and the black pod disease,” said Muftau Abolarinwa, president of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria.

“There is black pod on cocoa farms because the chemicals to fight the disease are too expensive for farmers to buy,” he said.

Chemical dealers had reported that cocoa farmers in Nigeria were facing higher input costs due to the depreciation of the national currency, the naira.

Isaac Ashaolu, a chemical dealer in Ibadan, capital city of southwest Oyo state said a 50-gram sachet of Ridomil, used to combat the black pod disease, currently sells for 850 Nigerian naira up from NGN400 to NGN450 last year.

The black pod disease thrives in wet conditions on cocoa farms when there isn`t sunshine and can damage up to 40% of Nigerian cocoa a year, according to the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria.

Since the federal government removed a subsidy on petrol in May and the Central Bank of Nigeria announced in June a free float of the naira against the U.S dollar and other global currencies, the naira has depreciated by over 40% resulting in rising prices of goods, foods, chemicals, medicine and services.

“A shortage of cocoa (in Nigeria) is very clear, it is not easy to say when the situation will improve. And for anybody to give an accurate production forecast we have to see that these rains stop,” Mr. Abolarinwa said.

Cocoa merchants and exporters in the five major cocoa producing states in the key southwest region aren’t getting enough cocoa to purchase due to low harvest and shortage of beans resulting in competition for the scarce cocoa, said Biodun Osho, a trader.

In Cross River state, the country`s second-biggest cocoa producer in the southeast region, Sayina Riman, a former president of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria said “main cocoa harvest is poor and the prospect is slim for a bumper harvest.

“This year, we did not have a good midcrop season so we were expecting to have a bumper main crop season but farmers are still complaining that the main crop is not as much as they expected,” Riman said.

Cocoa merchant Sunday Taiwo said there is a lot of mold in Cross River state cocoa because of the pattern of rain and a lack of sunshine to dry the beans.

“As of today, I don’t think I have bought 30 tons of cocoa and my target is 3,000 tons for the 2023-24 season in Cross River state,” Taiwo said.

Source : Market Watch