RECENT RAINFALL TO BOOST NIGERIA’S COCOA HARVEST
Recent rains in Nigeria may appear strange given the time of year, but experts now say the rains should improve and prolong the country’s cocoa harvest.
The rainfall should boost the growth of cocoa crops in key growing regions and lead to a prolonged season, said Toba Adenowuro, a cocoa desk officer at the Ministry of Agriculture in Ondo state, the country’s largest cocoa producer.
Adenowuro added, however, that these rains at the beginning of the dry season shouldn’t cause disease in the crop, which can occur when cocoa becomes overly moist.
In the past two weeks, the southwest region has received regular rainfall, which “is good for cocoa and a harvest that could go beyond February,” said Biodun Ogundare, a trader.
Cocoa development had been slow and poor in the southwest and southeast due to late rains at the beginning of the year, but improving conditions should make up for this, Ogundare added.
The dry season in Nigeria runs from the end of October to April.
The southwest region accounts for 70% of Nigeria’s annual cocoa production, estimated at 250,000 to 280,000 tons. The southeast accounts for 25% of national output.