Cocoa Prices Fall Again in Nigeria - Officials, Traders

By Obafemi Oredein Features Dow Jones Newswires

Special to Dow Jones Newswires

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IBADAN, Nigeria--Cocoa prices have fallen again in Nigeria after the short-lived rise in prices last week, industry officials and traders said Tuesday.

"Exporters are demanding higher quality cocoa beans than the ones coming to the market, they are therefore, paying lower prices for the low quality cocoa," said Johnbull Ewerami, an official of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria.

He said most exporters required midcrop cocoa with bean count of a minimum of 250 grams per 300 beans or higher, but the bean count of available cocoa varies between 200 grams to 240 grams per 300 beans.

Good quality cocoa has a bean count of 300 grams per 300 beans in Nigeria.

"We expect better quality cocoa in June if the current rains do not stop in the key cocoa producing southwest and southeast regions," said Tunde Olajuwon, a trader in Ibadan, capital of southwest Oyo state.

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Graded cocoa is trading in southeast Cross River state, the country`s second-largest producer, at 570,000 Nigerian naira ($1,862) per metric ton, down from NGN650,000 in mid-April, said Godwin Ukwu, a CAN official who is also a trader in Ikom, the state`s largest cocoa-growing center.

In southwest Osun state, the third-largest cocoa producer in Nigeria, cocoa is selling at NGN500,000 down from NGN550,000 last week, said Julius Ladegbaye, the state`s chairman of the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria.

In Edo state, the largest cocoa grower in the country`s midwest region, cocoa is selling at NGN500,000 down from NGN530,000 to NGN550,000 last week, according to a trader in Benin, the state`s capital.

Nojeem Olomide, a trader in southwest Ogun state, said cocoa is trading at NGN440,000 down from NGN520,000 last month attributing the fall to the low quality of cocoa beans and the activities of speculators in the state.

The midcrop is the country`s second, smaller annual crop, and is normally harvested from March to July-August. The annual rainy season, which has started in Nigeria`s key cocoa-producing states, runs from May to October.

Graded cocoa has been certified as fit for export by government produce inspectors.

-Write to Obafemi Oredein at realtimedesklondon@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 09, 2017 12:44 ET (16:44 GMT)