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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

‘Why farmers should determine cocoa price’

By Fatima Muraina

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Nigerian government has been urged to create an enabling environment for farmers to determine the price of cocoa so as to encourage them into mass production .
The state Chairman of Sunshine Cocoa farmers, Julius Ogundare made the suggestion in an interview with The Hope in Akure.
He said, the produce has remained the only commodity whose price is being determined by the buyers rather than the producers (Farmers) who he said are the least in the market value chain.
“Like many other commodities, farmers usually have stock brokage where the producers can monitor the world market price,” he said.
He urged government to put more interest in cocoa, saying there should be good number of extension officers in the states to help the farmers and check the practices of the local buying agents and the exporters.
According to him, an exporter makes so much money and they are those benefitting from bank loans rather than the farmers.
Ogundare observed that farmers knew what to expect throughout the season during the days of Awolowo unlike now that there is no longer control because buyers have messed up the trade of the produce
While saying that the season is favourable to production of the produce, Ogundare noted that the sale was affected because exporters were unable to ship them out due to COVID-19
His words: “From end of December to January, the price has gone down as we sold for N1,000 per kilogram and at a million naira per ton early December, but the buyers now buy between N800 and N900 per kilo at between N800 and N900 thousand per tone now”, he lamented.
The Head of Cocoa Farmers and former national officer of Cocoa farmers association of Nigeria, Evang. Joshua Oyedele said cocoa organisation has stopped Europeans from visiting the farms but buy from the store
He said the decision was made to avoid buyers deciding the price to sell which he noted was not favourable to the farmers
Oyedele who declared the favourable weather condition for the produce advised farmers to ensure good fermentation for six days before drying which he said gives good aroma that attracts buyers
He also urged them not to use artificial mode of drying with the use of firewood which he noted would reduce the weight content and its durability
Oyedele who emphasised on the importance of maintaining the produce declared the non-availability of required chemicals for monthly spraying of Cocoa, attributing it to high cost of the chemicals which could not be afforded by many farmers.

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