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Nigeria's Cocoa Prices Fall as Mold Reduces Bean Quality

August 13, 2014

COCOA prices offered the nation's farmers declined as mold induced by heavy rains reduced the quality of the chocolate ingredient, said Socodevi, an organisation working on improving crops in Nigeria.

Farmgate prices in the Cross River belt dropped by eight per cent to N440,000 ($2,714) a tonne, compared with N480,000 at the end of July, Neji Abang, country coordinator for Socodevi, a Quebec City, Canada-based organization, said in a telephone interview yesterday from Ikom in Cross River state.

"High mold caused by heavy rains affected crop quality, leading to lower pricing of beans by exporters," said Abang who is training farmers in the country on how to raise output and bean quality. "The mold level is as high as 21 per cent, compared with three per cent that is internationally acceptable."

The Cross River region produces about 75,000 tonnes of cocoa yearly, out of a national output of 300,000 tonnnes.

Cocoa exports from Nigeria rose by 41 per cent to 8,990 tonnes in July, compared with a month earlier, the nation's Federal Produce Inspection Service, which certifies exports, said yesterday.

Abang said: "We are asking farmers to reduce unwanted branches to enable sunlight to penetrate their farms for the main crop harvest."

The main crop harvest in the southern Edo state, accounting for 15 per cent of the nation's output, has been slowed by mold of up to 30 per cent, owing to the rains, Aminu Yakubu, spokesman for the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria, said in a separate interview in Benin.

The rainy season, which runs from May to October in the area, has brought heavy precipitation this month, he said.

In Ondo State, the highest producing state which is responsible for as much as 40 percent of the nation's output, mold levels are up to 20 per cent, making it difficult for farmers to dry beans, Adeola Adegoke, chairman for the farmers' association, said in a separate interview in Akure.

Farmgate prices in the area are between 450,000 naira and 500,000 naira, he said.

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Source: AllAfrica

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