Nigeria’s cocoa crop faces 60% decline

Nigeria’s cocoa crop faces 60% decline

Nigeria’s cocoa midcrop output may decline by as much as 60 percent as prolonged dry weather takes a toll on the trees, the country’s cocoa association said.

“The heatwave is so severe now that flowers and buds are falling off cocoa trees in the farms,” Sayina Riman, president of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria, which groups farmers, traders and grinders, said by phone from the southeastern cocoa hub of Ikom. “The 2016 midcrop may drop by about 60 percent as a result of the ravaging effect of the long harsh harmattan weather.”

Farmers in the southwestern cocoa belt that accounts for about 70 percent of Nigeria’s production say the crop isn’t faring well, with the last rains in the area falling in late October. “We will be lucky if we get up to half of last year’s midcrop cocoa harvest,” Kola Adeboyejo, a farmer in the cocoa-growing town of Idanre, said by phone.

Nigeria’s two cocoa harvests include the smaller midcrop from April to June, and the main crop from October to December. The midcrop normally accounts for about 30 percent of Nigeria’s cocoa output. Read more

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