(Ecofin Agency) - The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has said that flood across the country this year, may affect cocoa crop and boost rice output. In its weather outlook, NiMet predicted that no less than 32 out of the country’s 36 states, may likely experience flooding during the wet season, due to irregular rainfall.
“When you have serious cases of flooding, the tree crops will be forced to accommodate more water than they can absorb. Unlike a cereal crop like rice that can be submerged, cocoa will be seriously hampered,” Sani Mashi, the director general of NiMet, said.
Wet conditions like those created by flooding, causes fungal diseases such as black pod which reduces cocoa’s output and quality. While many cocoa farmers in the country, lament the lack of means to acquire chemical sprays to fight the fungal diseases, some rice farmers in flood-prone areas of Jigawa state, appreciate the excess water to irrigate crops including tomatoes, peppers, sorghum and corn.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), has said that the West African country is making efforts to expand investments in agriculture to reduce food imports, valued at $3.2 billion in 2015.
With 2015-2016 output estimated at 190,000 metric tons by the International Cocoa Organization, Nigeria ranks seventh among the world’s cocoa producers. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with about 180 million people, the country imported 2.1 million metric tons of rice and produced 2.7 million tons, last year.
Nigeria is also looking to save foreign exchange as it struggles to recover from its worst economic downturn in 25 years.