The Federal Government has disclosed plans to work with relevant stakeholders to increase the annual production of cocoa in the country to one million tons. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar, revealed this at the Nigeria Cocoa Summit co-hosted by the ministry and the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) in Abuja on Tuesday. The Summit was organised to address the challenges confronting the cocoa industry and to forge ways to resolve the problems to increase the production of the commodity in Nigeria. According to Abubakar, Nigeria which was once a major cocoa producer now lags behind Cote d’ Ivoire, Ghana and Indonesia in cocoa production. The Minister said current statistics revealed that Cote d’Ivoire produces over two million, Ghana with over 880,000, Indonesia about 660,000 tons while Nigeria produces just 328,000 tons.
Also, he noted that Nigeria’s low production was due to old trees, lack of improved seedlings, climate change, pesticides overuse and pest infestations. Represented by the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Hajiya Karama Babaginda, the minister said the new National Cocoa Plan(NCP) is proposed to be sent to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment.
He said, “The National Cocoa Plan 2020-2030 is aimed at promoting a sustainable cocoa economy; resurgence in production and industrialisation to trigger a robust domestic consumption, farmgate prosperity, youth engagement thereby leading to increased foreign exchange earnings from exports of consistently superior quality beans and products.”
On his part, the National President of Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria, Comrade Adeola Adegoke, said the summit was held to take into cognisance, the dangers of the EU/ECA and CropLife International regulations on agro-inputs, pose on the cocoa supply chain. Adegoke underscored the consequences of Nigeria’s unregulated cocoa industry.
“The consequences of our nation unregulated or total liberalization of the cocoa industry which has deprived Nigerian smallholder cocoa farmers almost the sum of N50 billion yearly as a result of our action not joining Ivory Coast and Ghana in the collection of $400 per ton known as Living Income Differential (LID) paid to cocoa farmers aside the cocoa floor price in those countries by the World Cocoa buyers,” he added.