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The Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), has announced its summit and award targeted at addressing the challenges facing the sub-sector and other issues around cocoa production in Nigeria.

The National President of CFAN, Comrade Adeola Adegoke, disclosed this while briefing newsmen in Abuja.

He said the majority of the issues to be discussed will target the smallholder cocoa farmers because they produce about 95 per cent of cocoa production not only in Nigeria but globally.

“Cocoa is very important to the Nigerian economy starting from the 80s when the planting of cocoa commenced, and Nigeria joined and had good production when we moved from the 1950s to 1960s where the country was adjudged to be producing about 590,000 metric tons.

“If you look at Nigeria as a country, the highest foreign exchange in the 1950s was cocoa, and agriculture plays about 55 per cent of the nation’s GDP,” he said.

Furthermore, he said “what the summit is all about is to tell ask what happened to our national policy on cocoa, from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to Federal Ministry of Trade, industry and Investment, we have had a lot of stakeholders meetings, roadmaps to revitalize production and address challenges in the cocoa industry have been put in a policy paper.

“Another area we are also looking at during the summit is how we are pushing forward our productions and productivity in the context of our cocoa farmers’ welfare, this is very important,” he said.

He explained that Nigeria was adjudged to be the second-largest producer of cocoa in the past, but today it produces about 250,000 metric tons.

“We had it very low when this issue of civil war broke out in 1967, then the advent of crude oil was the final push that retired cocoa to be the second contributor to the GDP of the country.

“As at today, that is why you can see statistically that cocoa is next to crude in foreign exchange earnings and that is to tell you where we are getting it wrong as a nation, and the country was also moving from the second-largest producer of cocoa to almost 5th in cocoa production.

“We have Ivory Coast now producing 2.5 million metric tons, we have Ghana producing about 1.5 million metric tons, and Nigeria is producing about 250,000 metric tons.

“When you look at this you will know that something must have happened somewhere, and thousands of livelihoods in Nigeria are connected to cocoa, this means along the value chains cocoa has provided for thousands of our farmers, and an average farmer in Nigeria is connected with 8 family members,” he noted.

Comrade Adegoke said Nigeria is currently exporting about 90 per cent of cocoa beans because of the low level of processing. By this, he said cocoa farmers are getting less than 6 per cent total value profit in cocoa value trade.

“Nigeria is adjudged to be exporting about 90 per cent of our cocoa beans, it shows we have a low level of processing in Nigeria today, and we are losing a lot of millions of dollars and thereby servicing other nations’ economies.

“It is established that when you export raw cocoa beans, you are getting less than 6 per cent total value profit in the cocoa value trade, it shows that our farmers are getting about 6 per cent, and that shows how poverty we come to be.

“The recent statistics have shown that cocoa gives us the second highest foreign exchange apart from crude oil even despite the fact that we are producing 250,000 metric tons.

“Where we are getting this wrong on the basis of our productivity, our average production of 300-350kg per hectare, whereas in Ghana and Ivory Coast the farmers get 800-1000kg per hectare.

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Hi, I,m Pospi Otuson. A Nigerian Blogger, Social Entrepreneur and Convener of the renowned Boki Business Conference. CEO/Founder of Possibility Desk, the largest online consulting platform for possibilities in the world.

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