Business

Netherlands imports N121.9bn cocoa from Nigeria

Nigeria has exported cocoa beans and derivatives valued at N121.9 billion ($259.5 million) to The Netherlands in the last two years. The exports represent 40.18 per cent of the total export of N303.4 billion ($646.2 million) between 2019 and 2021. In 2019, total export to various countries was valued at $311.38 million, while $334.79 million worth of 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.

But it was learnt that exporters were still struggling to get shipments of the beans out of the country due to slow and poor documentation, packaging, gridlock at the port roads and delay at the export terminals. 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 European consumers were willing to pay more for chocolate products that meet their demand. According to International Trade Statistics (ITS) on Nigerian trade, 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. Nigeria’s mid-crop harvest between May and September is between 50,000 and 60,000 tonnes when weather conditions are good and chemicals readily available to spray any diseased trees.

However, the Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN) had said that Nigeria’s mid-crop cocoa output would rise higher than expected as rainfall had helped to boost output for the 2020/21 season to an estimated 320,000 tonnes. According to the president of the association, Mufutau Abolarinwa, “the production is promising due to the consistent rainfall. Production is likely to increase from what we used to have.” Abolarinwa added that average rainfall between July and August 2020 had reduced the need for frequent spraying of trees.

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