Nigerian Farmers Excited as Global Cocoa Price Soars

The cocoa farmers in Nigeria have expressed delight in the six-fold jump in prices this year, witnessed in cocoa exportation and market.

Followin this new occurrence, Nigeria’s cocoa farmers are racing to plant more high-yielding seedlings to replace old trees while expanding their growing areas which would help boost the country’s cocoa output in three years when they start fruiting.

Specifically, the national president of the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria, Adeola Adegoke, said during an interview with the press.

According to him, “production may climb by 500,000 to 800,000 metric tons by 2026. That would suggest a 132 per cent rise from Nigeria’s 2022-2023 production estimates by the International Cocoa Association (ICCO).”

There are lots of investments going in the sector as we speak by farmers because of the record prices,” Adegoke said.

Cocoa farmers are planting more seedlings and taking care of their old plantations so they can have better yields. Even those not growing cocoa have become emergency cocoa farmers,” he explained.

Currently, a metric ton of the commodity sells for an average of N11.2 million at the Matori warehouse in Oshodi, Lagos.

That’s a six-fold jump compared to the N1.8 million a metric ton of cocoa beans sold for in January 2024.

Naira Devaluation

Nigerian cocoa growers are making more money than their counterparts in Ghana and Ivory Coast thanks to a steep naira devaluation that has resulted in a sharp increase in the naira income from the export of the beans.

The international price of cocoa beans has almost tripled since the start of the year owing to bad weather that battered harvest in top West African growers – Ivory Coast and Ghana, causing a shortfall and cutting 50 percent of global supply.

Tempting though it may be to bank the windfall cash, farmers in Africa’s most populous country see an opportunity to invest to produce more. Many are now buying high-yielding seedlings, expanding their growing areas, and planting more cocoa instead of less profitable crops.

With the current price of cocoa, many of us are geared towards engaging in producing more cocoa instead of growing less profitable crops.” A cocoa farmer in Kurmi Local Government Area in Taraba, Musa Sanda, told BusinessDay.

I just placed an order for 1,000 seedlings to replace my coffee trees as coffee does not bring the kind of money cocoa is giving me now,” Sanda said.

Lawrence Afere, founder and CEO of Springboard Farmers’ Co-operative of Nigeria, said the price rally is not just driving more investments from farmers but also attracting new entrants of farmers into the sector.

We have a cocoa nursery where we raise seedlings and saplings and lots of farmers not only from Ondo but as far as Abia are coming to buy,” Afere said.

“A man from Abia just placed an order for 60,000 seedlings for four hectares of land he just opened up to grow cocoa,” he noted.

According to him, the push to grow more cocoa owing to the recent price surge is causing encroachment into forest-reserved areas by some farmers as they seek lands to plant more of the beans.

An estimated 1.4 million people in Nigeria depend on cocoa production for their livelihood, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development and growing more of the profitable commodity would translate to increased income for them.

Cocoa was a major revenue and foreign exchange earner for the country and provided millions of jobs for the people, especially those in the southwest region

 

 

 

Agronigeria/Shakirat Sadiq

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