The Federal Government will increase Nigeria’s cocoa production from the present 340,000 tonnes to 500,000 tonnes by 2024.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, disclosed this in a statement issued on Friday by Mohammed Gana, an Information Officer II in the Ministry.
The minister, who said Nigeria ranked number four among cocoa producing countries in the world noted that Nigeria could achieve an increase in cocoa production based on the present drive of the Federal Government and relevant stakeholders towards utilisation of improved varieties.
“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 smallholder farmers through LID of $400/ton of cocoa beans sold.
” The two countries are benefiting while Nigerian cocoa farmers are at a disadvantage due to the unregulated and liberalised cocoa industry in the country”, he said.
Abubakar said that the interactive meeting between the Nigerian delegation and Ghana Cocoa Board had yielded a positive result with the recent approval by the ministry to establish the National Cocoa Management Committee (NCMC).
“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”, he said adding that the NCMC would be powered by legislation through the National Assembly to give the process a legal backing.
He pledged that the ministry would implement the LID system as the country strives to take cocoa production to a new height.
The Minister noted that “Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Ecuador are the major producers of cocoa while Nigeria is the fourth producer of the product, saying that the product is a key to small holders farmers in many countries.”
He however said, that the price of cocoa is determined in Europe, stressed the need to address the issues of market force.
In his remarks, the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Abdullahi Abubakar, represented by Bendard Ukattah, a Deputy Director in the ministry, commended the minister for his commitment to ensure that the country’s cocoa value chain grows.