Nigerian cocoa faces serious economic crisis due to coronavirus outbreak
Huge losses are being recorded daily as cocoa stays in the country’s warehouses because of restrictions at destination ports, meaning the longer it sits the more it loses weight, decreasing the value of the commodity.
The country’s cocoa farmers are also suffering through the lack of pesticides needed to grow the next crop. A farmer told the Nigerian Guardian newspaper: “Now, a kilo of cocoa has increased to N850.00 ($2.20), against the initial price of N700.00 per kilo. This is because of the cost of pesticides and other inputs we are using.
“These pesticides are very important to the cocoa seed because they help the product and also help the crop during the rainy season. Without the pesticides, the cocoa will not develop well and it will get spoiled during rainy season. When it gets spoiled, it will completely lose weight. So, there is no way in how any farmer will make money without using pesticides for the cocoa,” he said.
Dr Victor Iyama, the national president, Federation of Agricultural Commodity Association (FACAN), said cocoa exporters are the real victims, as the goods have been taken off the farmers. “The truth is that it is going to affect so many of us because the buyers are not even buying because there’s lockdown all over the country and all over the world.”
Robo Adhuze, a consultant to Ondo State Cocoa Revolution Project, suggested that other financial support windows should be open to cocoa farmers like other crops, but with special proviso due to the gestation period for cocoa.