Nigeria Cocoa Output Seen Down 18% over Spread of Fungal Black Pod Disease

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Women from a local cocoa farmers association called BLAYEYA spread cocoa beans to dry in Djangobo, Niable in eastern Ivory Coast, November 17, 2014. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon/File Photo

Nigeria’s cocoa-industry association cut its output estimate for the 2019-20 season by 18%, citing the spread of the fungal black pod disease caused by heavy rains in the country’s main growing areas.

The current season’s production is now expected to drop to 148,750 tons from the previous estimate of 181,475 tons, according to Mufutau Abolarinwa, president of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria, which groups farmers, traders and processors of the chocolate ingredient. An earlier projection saw production at 215,500 tons.

“Rainfall in the last few weeks has been heavy, leaving no chance for farmers to tend the farms,” Abolarinwa said by phone from the southwest cocoa-trading center of Akure. “We should be expecting a shortfall from the effect of the black pod on potential harvest.”

Nigeria, fifth-biggest cocoa producer, has two cocoa harvests, with the main crop happening between October and December, and the smaller, second crop maturing from April to June.

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Samson Gbenga Salau [Editorial Board Adviser] Gbenga Samuel Salau is a professional journalist with over 17 years experience in journalism, he is a graduate of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan. On completion of his youth service, he joined The Guardian as a freelance journalist and was later absorbed as a staff. While in the University, he was a campus journalist reporting for the Independence Hall and Faculty of Arts Press Clubs. As a campus journalist, he won the following awards; Independence Hall Press Best News writer; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best News Reporter/Writer; First Runner-up, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism; Association of Faculty of Arts Students’ Press Best Reporter; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Political Writer; Winner, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism, and University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Interviewer. He served the Association of Communication and Language Arts Students, as the Public Relation Officer, the same year he was appointed the News Editor of the Association of Faculty of Arts Students Press. The following session, he was made the General Editor, and a member of the 13-man University of Ibadan Students’ Union Transition Committee. As a reporter in The Guardian, in 2014, he won the Promasidor Quill Award Best Report on Nutrition and DAME Business Reporting category. In the 2015 edition of the Promasidor Quill Award, he won the best Report on Nutrition and Brand Advocate Categories, while in 2016, he won the NMMA Print Journalist of the Year, first runner-up Golden Pen Reporter of the Year and SERAs CSR Awards. Gbenga Salau loves traveling, reading, and listening to songs with good lyrics no matter the genre.

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