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February 23, 2012

Cocoa crop pesticide runs out in Nigeria, threatening harvest

by Vincent Nwanma

Cocoa output from Nigeria, the fourth-biggest producer, is threatened by the shortage of an insecticide to fight mirids, the country’s cocoa association said.

Wet weather has brought on an onslaught of mirids, insects that attack cocoa leaves, Robo Adhuze, spokesman for the association, said on February 16. They could damage up to 40 percent of the crop, “if not treated quickly and adequately.”

Patemglobal Nigeria Ltd., which said it is the country’s main supplier of the insecticide Actara 25WG, has sold out of the product, said Patrick Ikemefuna, managing director. The company is waiting for more deliveries.

Adhuze is concerned because farmers need the insecticide immediately. “The rains have started and the chemical should be in use by now, but the likelihood is that the farmers will use unapproved chemicals or nothing at all,” he said. If that happens the bean quality could be rejected by the European Union and Japanese buyers, Adhuze said.

Output in the 2010-11 season was expected to be about 230,000 metric tons, or about 5 percent of global production, according to Marex Spectron Group Ltd.

Nigeria ranks behind the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Indonesia as the world’s largest cocoa producer, according to the website of the International Cocoa Organization.


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