Cocoa research institute trains farmers
The Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) has trained farmers on the need to improve on the flavour of cocoa produce across the country.
The Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, CRIN, Dr. Patrick Adebola, said this during one-day training workshop for Nigeria cocoa farmers and stakeholders in Akure, themed, ‘Harvest and Post-harvest Practices Affecting Cocoa Flavour Quality.’
He lamented the falling standard in the quality of cocoa flavour produced in the country by farmers, leading to poor pricing and having adverse effect on the nation’s foreign exchange.
Adebola, who was represented by the CRIN Director of Training, Sunday Agbeniyi, noted that the training, in conjunction with World Cocoa Foundation, was to increase the flavour of cocoa produced by Nigerian farmers.
“Buyers are not just buying cocoa beans as it is, what they are paying for is the flavour. And without flavour, chocolate will not be chocolate again. The level of our flavour has gone down tremendously.
“There is need for us to revitalise cocoa industry and one of the best way to do this is through value addition, improving cocoa quality in Nigeria,” he said.
According to him, the institute chose Ondo State as the largest cocoa producer in the country to pilot the training for other cocoa farmers, locally and other states, who were also in attendance from other parts of the country.
The CRIN resource person, Dr. Festus Olasupo, took the cocoa farmers, merchants and processors like Olam and Johnvents factory, among others, through the global best practices on quality flavoured and gave them certificates of participation.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture and Agribusiness, Akin Olotu, pointed out that cocoa stakeholders should not solely rely on foreign exchange, saying local consumption would also improve cocoa production in the country.
Olotu, who is also the Chairman of Cocoa Revolution in the state, disclosed that the Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu-led government has embarked on a policy to domesticate the value chain opportunities in cocoa.
He listed the interventions of Ondo State Government in improving cocoa production, adding that efforts were on top gear to overcome the insecurity challenges that are slowing down the pace.
The National President of Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), Adeola Adegoke, described the training and strategy to improve on the living income of cocoa farmers in the country as apt.
Adegoke, who lauded CRIN for the initiative, added that the impact of the training on cocoa premium would be unquantifiable, saying the world market will move to Ondo State and Nigeria by extension.
He, however, decried the poor pricing mechanism currently deployed for cocoa purchase, saying it does not encourage quality and gives room for some unscrupulous farmers to compromise on standard so as to maximise profits.