Despite slow and poor documentation, packaging, gridlock at port roads and delay at export terminals, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has processed cocoa beans valued at N283.93 billion ($507.03 million) from Ekiti and Ondo states.
The 200,564 tonnes consignments were laden in 7,163 containers as each box was stacked with 28 tonnes. The global price of the commodity is $2,528 per metric tonne.
According to the Customs Area Controller for Ondo/Ekiti Command, Helen Uche Ngozi, a total of 3,991 containers of cocoa beans were exported between January and December, 2021, while 3,172 containers were exported in 2020, indicating a 25.8 per cent increase within one year.
She said: “Statistic record from the export unit indicates that a total of three thousand, nine hundred and ninety one footer containers (3,991) were exported from January to December, 2021, this is 25.8 per cent increment when compared with three thousand, one hundred and seventy two (3,172)-footer container of cocoa been exported in 2020 under the same period.”
Meanwhile, the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) had said it would increase production in the country from its current 328,263 metric tonnes per annum to 500,000 metric tonnes over the next two years. It stressed that increasing Nigeria’s cocoa output would help the country to earn more foreign exchange, a situation that would in turn improve the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The association’s President, Comrade Adeola Adegoke, said CFAN’s focus was to surpass the production and production capacity of both Ivory Coast and Ghana by 2027 through a sustainable cocoa production.
Adegoke noted that cocoa farmers were losing $400 per tonne when compared with its West African counterparts due to the unregulated cocoa industry. The president urged government to bring sanity to the cocoa industry in Nigeria, stressing that the $400 per tonne was Living Income Differential (LID), representing N55 billion losses annually.
Adegoke explained: “Because of the unregulated cocoa economy in Nigeria, there is no measure put in place to be able to collect this $400 aside from the floor price that we sell our beans. This $400 is an addition that is meant to support the livelihood of the cocoa farmers in all cocoa-producing nations. “In Ghana and Ivory Coast today, they are collecting it.
But today, Nigeria is being denied $400 per tonne, multiply it by 265,000 metric tonnes and it would be running into about N55 billion.” It would be recalled that the country had exported cocoa beans and derivatives valued at N121.9 billion ($259.5 million) to The Netherlands between 2019 and 2021.
The exports represent 40.18 per cent of the total cocoa export of N303.4 billion ($646.2 million) by Nigeria to the global market in the period. In 2019, total export to various countries was valued at $311.38 million, while $334.79 million beans and its derivatives were exported in 2020.
It was learnt that the exporters had shifted to Europe as demand for beans had been sluggish in Asia, which priced Nigerian cocoa at differentials of between 160 pounds and 200 pounds ($279.56) less than the market price due to weak international demand.
However, the International Cocoa Association (ICCO) has said that European consumers had placed greater emphasis on the quality of chocolates, owing to increasing health concerns involving cheaper chocolates in the region and a surge in the popularity of fine cocoa. It added that European consumers were willing to pay more for chocolate products that meet their demand.
According to International Trade Statistics (ITS) on Nigerian trade, some cocoa beans valued at $121.8 million and $137.7 million were exported to The Netherlands between 2019 and 2020 respectively. The export was increased by 11 per cent within the period.