The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar has reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to increase Nigeria Cocoa Production from the present 340,000 tonnes to 500,000 tonnes by 2024.
Speaking during a courtesy call led by the Executive Director, International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) Mr. Arrion Michel to his yesterday, the Minister said that Nigeria was ranked number four among cocoa producing countries in the world.
Abubakar assured that Nigeria can achieve an increase in cocoa production based on the present drive of the federal government and relevant stakeholders towards utilization of improved varieties.
He noted that of utmost importance is traceability and transparency in the cocoa sector, National cocoa farm irrigation, improvement of the cocoa sector through research, input delivery, production, value addition, processing and export.
He informed that “recently Nigeria has made a remarkable move to join the Living Income Differential (LID) initiatives which was established by Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana in 2019 which aims at guaranteeing the livelihood of small holder farmers through LID of $400/ton of cocoa beans sold, adding that the two countries are benefiting while Nigerian cocoa farmers are at disadvantage of this benefit due to unregulated and liberalized cocoa industry in the country”.
The Minister revealed that “the interactive meeting between Nigerian delegation and Ghana cocoa board has yielded a positive result with the recent approval by ministry to establish the National Cocoa Management Committee (NCMC).
He added that ‘the committee will consist of all relevant stakeholders in the Nigerian cocoa industry, develop a framework for the regulation and monitoring of all activities in the cocoa sector in order to achieve transparency, traceability and sustainability”.
The Minister further stated that the NCMC will be powered by legislation through the National Assembly to give the process a legal backing.
Dr Abubakar pledged that the ministry would implement the LID system in Nigeria as the country strives to take cocoa production to a new height.
Earlier, the Executive Director, ICCO, Mr. Arrion Michel thanked the Minister for his hospitality and informed that Africa produce about 80% of cocoa but the price is determined in Europe and noted there is need to address the issues of market force .
He also pointed out that “Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Ecuador are the major producers of cocoa while Nigeria is the fourth producer of the product, noting that the product is a key to small holders farmers in many countries.”
In his remarks, the Director Federal Department of Agriculture, Engr. Abdullahi Abubakar, represented by his Deputy Director Mr. Bendard Ukattah commended the Minister for his commitment and effort towards ensuring that the country cocoa value chain strives, he also appreciated the Executive Director, his team and the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment for their efforts as well as pledged the ministry’s cooperation to move the cocoa sub sector forward.