Agriculture minister Mohammad Abubakar says the federal government will increase Nigeria’s cocoa production from the present 340,000 tons to 500,000 tons by 2024.
A statement by Mohammed Gana, Information Officer II, in the ministry said the minister disclosed this during a courtesy visit by Arrion Michel, the executive director of the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), on Tuesday in Abuja.
The minister explained that Nigeria was ranked number four among cocoa producing countries in the world and assured that Nigeria could achieve an increase in cocoa production based on the present drive of the government and relevant stakeholders towards utilization 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 small holder farmers through LID of $400/ton of cocoa beans sold,” he stated. “The two countries are benefiting while Nigerian cocoa farmers are at a disadvantage of this benefit due to the unregulated and liberalized cocoa industry in the country.”
Mr. Abubakar said 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.
He further stated that the NCMC would be powered by legislation through the National Assembly to give the process a legal backing.
The minister pledged that the ministry would implement the LID system as the country strives to take cocoa production to a new height.
Mr. Michel pointed out 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 smallholders in many countries.”