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Nigerian cocoa farmers lose N60b yearly to poor practices

By Femi Ibirogba
20 May 2022   |   1:55 am
Cocoa farmers in Nigeria have been advised to prevent rejection of cocoa exports by avoiding poor agronomical practices capable of jeopardising the efforts and resources of stakeholders in the international market.

Cocoa farmers

As association, CRIN urge members on good quality beans

Cocoa farmers in Nigeria have been advised to prevent rejection of cocoa exports by avoiding poor agronomical practices capable of jeopardising the efforts and resources of stakeholders in the international market.

This is as smallholder cocoa farmers lose close to N60 billion yearly as they are left out of $400 Living Income Differential (LID) paid above the floor cocoa price in the international market for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).

The Cocoa Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (CFAN) said Nigeria’s poor cocoa quality being reported by our international buyers, processors and exporters necessitated an advocacy to enlighten and train cocoa farmers on sustainable cocoa production.

The National President of CFAN, Comrade Adeola Adegoke, said this while distributing a cocoa GAP Handbook to smallholder farmers in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, recently.

Adegoke said: “And the EU recent introduction of ‘Due Diligence legislation’ and the threat to reject all cocoa beans that are not sustainably sourced (farm to fork) informed our collective decision to salvage our cocoa industry. The scenario of bad quality cocoa beans could no longer be tolerated as a cocoa-producing country, and as an association of cocoa farmers of Nigeria.

“We want to go back to the era when Nigeria was regarded as the producer of best-grade cocoa quality beans known as premium bean today. Our smallholder cocoa farmers must be educated, guided and supported on responsible and acceptable international cocoa practices in line with due diligence legislation/framework without any excuse.”

According to the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nigeria is the fourth largest producer of cocoa worldwide, covering a 6.5 per cent share of global production.

Global market for cocoa beans, Adegoke said, is valued at $10 billion while the total value of all finished goods from cocoa yearly is $200 billion, with chocolates alone having $100 billion.

He called on the government to provide enabling environment for processing and value addition to maximise benefits of being a major cocoa-producing country.

He commended Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, describing his Commissioner of Agriculture, Dr. Adeola Odedina as a performer often receptive to issues of cocoa farmers in the state.

The free distribution of GAP handbook across the entire cocoa producing states and Ogun State, Adegoke said, marked the beginning of Nigeria’s path to sustainable cocoa production and good agronomic practices in the supply chain.

He also commended partners like Harvestfield Industries Limited, Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), EBAFOSA, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment for assisting in the production and distribution of the training material.

“We intend to change the 350kg/400kg per hectare in Nigeria and move it to 600kg per hectare by 2024, with a target of 500,000 MT yearly as against 340,000 MT currently producing; low usage of organic pesticide and fertiliser in cocoa production and non-compliance with international best practices would also be reversed,” he said.

MEANWHILE, the Executive Director of CRIN, who was a guest, Dr Patrick Adebola, advised the farmers to make good use of the book by following all the recommendations contained in it from planting to harvesting, processing and storage. This, he said, would increase the quality of their cocoa beans and thereby attract higher prices. 

He also said proper use of the book would also eliminate the issue of pesticide residue and prevent the rejection of Nigeria’s cocoa beans in the international market.

“The book contains the list of recommended agrochemicals for use on cocoa farms, including the organics, with high efficacy, non-persistence and with no environmental damage,” he said.

He congratulated CFAN on the success of the programme and commended them for distributing the book free of charge to cocoa farmers in Ogun State.

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