The Federal Government has disclosed plans to increase Nigeria’s cocoa production from an annual 340,000 tonnes to 500,000 tonnes by 2024.
Specifically, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, stated this during a courtesy visit by the Executive Director, International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO), Mr Arrion Michel, on Tuesday in Abuja.
The minister said Nigeria was ranked fourth among cocoa producing countries in the world, noting that the Nation could achieve an increase in cocoa production based on the present drive of the Federal Government and relevant stakeholders towards the utilisation of improved varieties.
He said, “Recently, Nigeria has made a remarkable move to join the Living Income Differential (LID) initiatives which was established by Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana in 2019 which aims at guaranteeing the livelihood of smallholder farmers through LID of $400/ton of cocoa beans sold.
” The two countries are benefiting while Nigerian cocoa farmers are at a disadvantage of this benefit due to the unregulated and liberalised cocoa industry in the country.”
Speaking on the interactive meeting between the Nigerian delegation and Ghana cocoa board, the agriculture minister described it as successful with the recent approval to establish the National Cocoa Management Committee (NCMC) in Nigeria.
According to him, the committee will consist of all relevant stakeholders in the Nigerian cocoa industry and develop a framework for the regulation and monitoring of all activities in the cocoa sector in order to achieve transparency, traceability and sustainability.
Furthermore, Abubakar stated that the NCMC would be powered by legislation through the National Assembly to give the process a legal backing, while affirming that his ministry would implement the LID system as the country strives to take cocoa production to a new height.
On his part, ICCO ED explained that Africa produces about 80 per cent of the world’s cocoa beans but its prices are determined in Europe, stressing the need to address the issues of market force.
He said, “Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Ecuador are the major producers of cocoa while Nigeria is the fourth producer of the product, cocoa is key to smallholder farmers in many countries.”