Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria, CFAN, has called on the federal government to address the hike in fuel price so that the target of food security through the Security Council Purview can be achieved.
A statement by the National President of CFAN, Mr Adeola Adegoke, said food sufficiency has always been the major goal of any serious government of any nation .
” For any nation to survive, food security is the key and the major determinant of any strong economy (import and export ratio).
“So this must be a welcome development from President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in pursuing his food security plans through the Security Council purview (especially Agriculture and Water Resources)”
This, Adegoke said must not be a mere word with all actions deployed to create food sufficiency in due time because self-sufficiency is the key to securing any nation.
According to him, the present high cost of energy must have rubbed off or seriously impacted Mr. President’s intention in this regard considering the present skyrocketing inputs price and its negative effects on the cost of cocoa or Agro product for the smallholder farmers.
He expressed that people do not know how Mr.President would solve the energy crisis, knowing that the objective might be impacted negatively, if urgent measures are not put in place to solve the problem and save the smallholder cocoa farmers from degenerating into more poverty beyond control thereby negatively rubbing of the gains of food security.
Reacting on the issue of the Commodity Board, Adegoke stated that the President has never hidden his views on the need to bring- back the Boards to support his food sufficiency strategies.
” It must be known that the present total deregulation of the cocoa sector after the dissolution of the commodity board in 1986 has set the industry backward without any appreciable progress in quality, production, productivity, and the fair market mechanism to support the farmers.”
“The smallholder cocoa farmers have continued to bear the full cost of cocoa production without any appreciable support from the government at all levels unlike what was obtainable during the cocoa board era in 1986 as being done in Ghana and Ivory Coast that still retained their boards and presently with production capacity of 1million MT and 2 million MT respectively while Nigeria is presently hovering around 300,000 -350,000 MT,” he further stated.
According to him, farmers will not support the purchasing power to be given to the board again (Apart from buyers of the last result) and 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.
He called for a stop of the present Autopilot system in the cocoa sector to make cocoa competitive and spur investment that has continued to elude the country as a result of a free market without regulation that aided fraud, cheating, waste, low productivity & production, no plan, circumvention, poor quality, compromisation of standardization and low livelihood of the cocoa farmers.