By Fatima Muraina
Stakeholders in the Nigeria cocoa value chain have been advice to fashion out strategies towards increased the quantity and quality of cocoa production in country.
Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu made the call yesterday at the first National Cocoa festival held in Akure.
The governor who was represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Agric and Agric Business, Pastor Akin Olotu Akeredolu urged the stakeholders to think outside the box and reclaim leadership position.
Akeredolu who bagged the “Baba Cocoa of Nigeria (BCN) said Nigeria is ranked 4th in cocoa production behind Cote d’ Ivoire, Ghana, and Indonesia in the world with production capacity of 340,163 tons which contributes about 41.6 percent to Nigeria’s export earnings.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr. Muhammed Mahmood who was represented by Southwest Zonal Director, Mrs Omolara Abimbola-Oguntuyi said a working visit was made to Ghana to study the implementation of Living Income Differential (LID) of $400 as accruable to smallholder Cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.
He reiterated federal government’s willingness to continue its support to diversify cocoa production in order to ensure that Nigeria regains its position as the highest cocoa producing country in the world.
The National President of Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), Mr Adeola Adegoke disclosed that cocoa is still the highest non-oil sector provider of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings through export which currently puts at N 1 14.1 billion(NBS 2022).
He explained that the aim of the annual event is to re-awaken the national interest in the cocoa value chain.
According to him, the Theme of the event : ” Stakeholders’ Collaboration to make Nigeria Cocoa Industry Sustainable, ” was deliberately chosen to address the peculiar challenges as a cocoa producer and value chain stakeholders.
He appealed to cocoa farmers, beneficiaries of CFAN/CBN-ABP/Wema Bank loan, for cocoa production across the producing states to sustain the financing and re-financing of the cocoa production sub-sector by the CBN and other financial partners.
This, he said, is the only way to guarantee the continuity of such programmes and to sustain the supports to the cocoa industry.
The occasion also featured the investiture of His imperial Majesty, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja 11 the Ooni of Ife as the Grand Patron of Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN)