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Experts to partner farmers in cocoa cleaning for improved export

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• Targets local production of chocolates
Experts in the nation’s export and trade sector has disclosed plans to partner cocoa farmers in the cleaning and drying process, to improve the quality of cocoa beans from Nigeria for export purposes.
 
According to them, this is very vital, as it would significantly boost the country’s export trade, as the low quality of cocoa beans being produced sometimes limits export demands.
 
Specifically, the General Manager, Barry Callebaut (BC) Nigeria, Adriaan Verbeke, said to control and maintain the quality of cocoa beans that are exported out of Nigeria, the produce buyer, after over 30 years of buying from local exporters, plans to aid in the bean cleaning process with local farmers.

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Speaking at the launch of a partnership between BC and Cormart Nigeria Limited, for the distribution of the chocolate products in Nigeria, he said the company is currently focused on buying good cocoa beans from Nigeria for export, and analysing the market to know how best to start production in Nigeria. He said:  “When farmers harvest the products, they do most of the bulk of work, which includes the drying of the product after it ferments. They often dry this on the floor and when they do, there are little bits of sand that sticks to it and this makes it very difficult to export.
 
“We want to start working more closely together with the farmers as we do in different countries. This is very important because it will not only improve quality but also ensure that the livelihood of the farmers is improved.”
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However, he noted that factors such as the infrastructural deficit in the country are still delaying their plans of processing the cocoa beans locally into chocolate in Nigeria, as they are very important for the proper distribution of the products.
 
In his remarks, General Manager, Cormart, Dr. Johannes Flosbach, said the company on its part would train customers who are interested in buying the chocolates.He said: “Our biggest customers would be companies that produce chocolate cookies, those that bake wedding cakes and so on, and we would teach them how to make the best use of the different types of chocolates. We will be advising customers on how to use these chocolates that we are selling it to them.”

Speaking on the impact of the Finance Act 2020 and tax raise on their business, he said: “This depends a little bit on the products. You would find some products where the cost is being forwarded to the customers and you would find some products, which are a bit more price sensitive where the additional cost has to be absorbed by the company. Either way, somebody has to absorb the cost. It’s either the customer or the company.

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