By Francis Akinnodi
The Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), have stated that poor funding still remained a major hindrance for cocoa production in the country.
President of CFAN, Adeola Adegoke maintained that many members of the association are still struggling to get access to loans to maximise their opportunities in the nation’s cocoa value chain.
He told The Hope in a telephone interview that financing the cocoa industry has remained a challenge for a very long, explaining that farmers involved in other related commodities have easy access to funds when compared to cocoa farmers.
“Come to look at it, what is the finance level even from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) and not to talk of any other interventions, which sometimes exclude the cocoa sector because of the gestation period.”
He also stated that the high cost of farm inputs has become a very serious challenge to cocoa farmers in the country.
According to him, the cost of farm input is growing in geometrical dimensions while profit margins of cocoa farmers are diminishing.
He said: “There is need for the federal government to come up with some kind of subsidy for the key areas of support such as pesticides, fertilizer are subsidised.”
He also lamented over the unavailability of lands for cocoa production due to its large requirement for land and gestation period, and called on the federal government to make conscious efforts to make lands available.
In his words: “Availability of lands, especially for our youths is also a major challenge. Crops that are not tree crops get access to farmlands easily, but cocoa because of its requirement for vast lands and gestation period do not get access to availability of lands.”