YAOUNDE Feb 19 Cameroon's cocoa exports rose almost 15 percent in the five months to the end of January, compared with the same period last season, National Cocoa and Coffee Board statistics showed on Tuesday.
The world's fifth-largest cocoa grower shipped 172,135 tonnes between the start of the 2012/2013 season in August and the end of last month, up from 149,793 tonnes exported over the same period last season.
No specific reason was given for the rise in exports, although weather conditions for crops have been better than in the 2011/2012 season.
The central African country exported 37,004 tonnes in January, down from 41,136 tonnes in December, and up from 17,803 tonnes in January 2011, the figures showed.
The number of exporters fell to 27 from 32 in December. Telcar Cocoa Ltd topped the monthly export chart with 11,035 tonnes, followed by Olam Cam, a subsidiary of Singapore commodities firm Olam, with 5,134 tonnes.
The rise in exports came as farmgate prices slipped by up to 4 percent in the main growing centres in February, along with a price fall at the port, after some beans were blocked from entering the EU market due to poor quality, authorities said on Friday.
Cocoa, the main cash crop in Cameroon, is mainly grown in four regions, with the Centre and South West Regions each accounting for 40 percent of national output.
Cameroon exported 180,000 tonnes of cocoa during the 2011/12 season, down from the 200,083 tonnes the previous season, due to a prolonged dry season and attacks by pests and diseases. (Reporting By Tansa Musa; Writing by John Irish; Editing by Pravin Char)