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The Cocoa Industry Board realised some $44.9 million in profits for the 2003/2004 crop year, reflecting an increase above the $40.5 million which was generated by the Board in the previous year. As contained in the 2003/2004 Annual Report of the CIB, which was tabled in the House of Representatives on October 10, the sales of dry fermented cocoa brought in earnings of $52.3 million, a figure which exceeded the $39.7 million earned in the corresponding year.
In the first quarter of the review period (September to December 2003), some 298 tonnes of cocoa were produced, as against the 77 tonnes produced for the similar period in the previous year.
The second quarter, which ended March 31, 2004, saw a continuance of favourable production with 181 tonnes of the crop being produced compared to 158 tonnes for the previous year.
“Generally for the fall crop (October 1, 2003 to March 31, 2004), a total of 479 tonnes was produced, which compared favourably to the 235 tonnes produced for the similar period the year before,” the Report stated. It was noted, however, that during the spring crop (April to September 2004), a decline was recorded, primarily as a result of Hurricane Ivan. This resulted in a total of 229 tonnes of the cocoa crop being produced, as against the 500 tonnes produced during the spring crop for the corresponding year.
According to the Report, for the crop year, production amounted to 710 tonnes, 23 tonnes less than the 733 tonnes produced the previous year.
Production was affected mainly by unfavourable weather conditions such as prolonged droughts and torrential rains. Other contributing factors that impacted on production were the high cost of inputs such as labour, fertiliser, and rodenticide; inadequate support to cocoa farmers from affiliated organisations; and the aging stock of farmers.
The mandate of the Cocoa Industry Board is to market Jamaica’s fine flavoured cocoa internationally. This involves promoting the growing of cocoa among farmers; providing technical support; purchasing and processing wet beans; and selling dried fermented beans.