CORRECTED (OFFICIAL)-Cameroon cocoa exports drop 19 pct in September

Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:07pm EDT
 
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(NCCB and CCIB correct September cumulative cocoa export figure for this season and last season)

YAOUNDE Oct 26 (Reuters) - Cameroon cocoa exports hit 3 0, 2 48 tonnes by the end of September since the 2012-13 season started in August, down more than 19 pe rcent from the 37,413 tonnes recorded in the same period last season, National Cocoa and Coffee Board (NCCB) statistics showed on Friday.

The data was confirmed by the world's fifth largest cocoa grower's Cocoa and Coffee Interprofessional Board (CCIB).

Month on month, exports rose to 17,940 tonnes in September from 1 2,308 tonnes reported in August.

NCCB and CCIB officials as well as traders blamed the drop on heavy rainfall and overcast skies, which slowed down the drying process and damaged unpaved roads.

"I am sure you are aware the heavy rains we witnessed since mid-August this year not only hampered proper drying of beans but also led to an outbreak of the black pod disease," said Theophile Mbarga, a buyer and trader from the Centre Region.

Cameroon's cocoa season runs from August 1 to July 31, with the main crop harvest running to January/February, followed by the smaller mid-crop harvest.

The number of exporters rose to 24 in September, up from 18 in August.

Cargill's joint venture partner Telcar Cocoa Ltd was the leading exporter for the period with 5,217 tonnes down from 6,621, w h ile Cameroon Marketing Commodities (CAMACO) exported 3, 963 tonnes, u p from 2,909 tonnes in August.

Olam Cam, a subsidiary of Singapore commodities firm Olam e xported 5 ,671 tonnes, up from 4,163 tonnes the previous month.

The Central African country exported 180,000 tonnes of cocoa during the 2011/12 season, down from the 200,083 tonnes the previous year, due to a prolonged dry season and attacks by pests and diseases. (Reporting Tansa Musa; Editing by Joe Bavier and Jason Neely)