Nigeria’s Cocoa Association Confirms Production Downgrade

  • ICCO Now Ranks Nigeria as 7th Top Cocoa Producer Globally
  • Projected Output for 2015-2016 Season at 190,000 Metric Tons

The Cocoa Association of Nigeria confirmed the country has dropped to the world’s seventh top producer of the crop after its projected output for the 2015-2016 season was lowered to 190,000 metric tons.

The International Cocoa Organization previously ranked Nigeria as the world’s fourth biggest cocoa producer.

The downgrade was attributed to the "country’s exchange rate policy, lack (of) reliable data, low synergy between the public and private sectors etc," Sayina Riman, president of Cocoa Association of Nigeria, said in a text message from his base in the southeastern cocoa hub of Ikom.

The ICCO had initially projected Nigeria would produce 270,000 metric tons of cocoa in the current season, according to Riman. Punch newspaper, in Lagos, reported the ICCO downgrade earlier.

Responding via text message to a request for comment, Nigerian Minister of Agriculture Audu Ogbeh pointed to government neglect as a reason for Nigeria’s dwindling cocoa production the past 30 years.

"Official records of actual production and exports are difficult to trace" as proper records of production are not kept, Ogbeh said.

Most of Nigeria’s exports aren’t being recorded as exporters seek to bypass official channels to benefit from the exchange rate differential between the official and parallel markets, he said.

The Cocoa Association of Nigeria is the umbrella body of the country’s cocoa farmers, processors, traders and exporters.

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