NIGERIA- According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the value of Nigeria’s cocoa exports was N408.66 billion (US$273.8 million) in the first quarter of 2024, a 279% increase from N107.59 billion (US$72.4 million) reported in the same quarter last year. 

The reported increase in export earnings is attributed to soaring international cocoa prices caused by extreme weather, disease, and poor harvests affecting cocoa-producing countries in West Africa. 

Compared to Q4 2023, cocoa earnings increased by 138% from N171.3 billion (US$115 million) reported in the preceding quarter, the largest jump in earnings of any export crop in Nigeria. 

Prices peaked at US$12,264 in mid-April, which prompted many Nigerian farmers to expand cultivation areas and rejuvenate old coffee trees. 

Nigeria is expected to expand its current cocoa production to meet high demand and supplement shortages. According to the International Cocoa Organization, global cocoa supply is expected to decrease by 11% during the current season (2023/2024), a deficit of 493,000 metric tons. Nigeria’s Cocoa Farmers Association projects cocoa production to increase to 500,000 tons by the end of 2025 and 800,000 by the end of 2026. 

However, there is also the underlying need to address the underinvestment in Nigeria’s cocoa sector. Cocoa in Nigeria is dominated by smallholder farmers who lack inputs and market access, which has gradually decreased earnings and yields over time.  

Early this month, Johnvents Industries Limited and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced a US$23.3 million financial package to expand Johnvent’s cocoa operations in Nigeria as a means of expanding production.

The investment package is expected to achieve 100% traceable cocoa, with at least 90% certified by 2027. The IFC revealed these improved protocols and investments will help improve the quality of Nigerian cocoa in the international market. 

The investment package will also involve advisory and extension services to farmers directly supplying to Johnvents. 

Makhtar Diop, IFC’s Managing Director, said, “Agribusiness plays a critical role in fostering value addition and diversifying Nigeria’s economy. IFC’s financing and advisory support for Johnvents will help strengthen the company’s operations, develop Nigeria’s cocoa sector, and sustain and create thousands of jobs.” 

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