By Fatima Muraina
The Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), has said that the present total deregulation of the cocoa industry after the dissolution of the Commodity Board in 1986 has set the industry backward.
CFAN noted that the sector is now without any appreciable progress in quality, production, productivity, and fair market mechanism to support the farmers.
National President of CFAN, Adeola Adegoke, stated this while responding to President Tinubu’s declaration on the National Commodity board.
He said Mr. President has never hidden his views on the need to bring back the Board to support his food sufficiency strategies.
Adegoke said that smallholder cocoa farmers have continued to bear the full cost of cocoa production without any support from the government at all levels unlike what was obtainable during the cocoa board era in 1986, and being done in Ghana and Ivory Coast that still retain their boards and presently with production capacity of one million and two million metric tonnes respectively.
Nigeria is presently hovering around 300,000 and 350,000 metric tonnes.
“We will not support the purchasing power to be given to the board again, apart from buyers of the last resort and to play a major role in the regulation and development of the sector due to the bad experience suffered by the Nigerian farmers when they were cheated by the then board via price manipulation that led to the dissolution, that is throwing away the baby with the bad water,”
The CFAN national president, said that the present auto pilot system in the cocoa sector must be stopped to make the nation’s cocoa competitive and to spur investment that has continued to elude Nigeria as a result of a free market without regulation that aided fraud, cheating, waste, low productivity and production plan lessons, circumvention, poor quality, bastardisation and low livelihood of the cocoa farmers.
Speaking further, he said food sufficiency has always been the major goal of any serious government of any nation and Nigeria’s position shouldn’t be different, that for any nation to survive, food security is the key and the major determinant of any strong economy.
He stated that pursuing his food security plans through the Security Council purview especially agriculture and water resources is a welcome development and must not be a mere word with all actions deployed to create food sufficiency in due time.