Shipments dropped to 6,074 metric tons, from 7,810 tons in the same period a year earlier, the Lagos-based service said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The service inspects and certifies cocoa beans fit for shipment, after state produce officers have graded them.
Nigerian farmers said last month they had begun harvesting the so-called main crop that is collected between October and April in some growing areas that experienced good rains. Differing weather across Nigeria means the start and end dates of the main- and light-crop seasons vary each year.
The farmers expect the light-crop season to formally end this month.
Nigeria ranks behind Ivory Coast, Ghana and Indonesia as the world’s fourth-largest cocoa grower, with output expected to total 229,000 tons in the 2009-10 season, according to the International Cocoa Organization. The crop is the West African country’s second-biggest foreign exchange earner, after oil.