The Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) has called for a synergy between the government and the private sector to boost annual production from the current 250,000 metric tonnes to 500,000 metric tonnes.
The National President of CFAN, Comrade Adeola Adegoke, while speaking with Tribune Online, on Wednesday, Cocoa generates a lot of foreign exchange, employment and a livelihood for thousands of farmers.
He said the synergy between the government and private sector should be in terms of investment in production, productivity, value addition, processing and increased processing capacity.
“If you look at the impact on the value chain, you will know that the country has a lot of opportunities to leverage when it comes to investment in cocoa.
“I am looking forward to a kind of synergy between the government and the private sector in terms of investment in production, productivity, value addition, processing and increased processing capacity.
“I am looking forward to a situation where we can move from the present 250,000 metric tonnes annual production to 500,000 metric tonnes in the next one year,” he said.
Adegoke further stated that he wants a situation where there is a sustainable cocoa economy that would lead to the diversification of the country’s economy from oil to agriculture.
“So, I am looking forward to a kind of sustainable cocoa economy that can actually take care of our diversification from oil because this is the only way that we can sustain the economy, so I am looking at direct and indirect investment in the sector.
Furthermore, he said there is also the need for smallholder cocoa farmers to adhere to the international best practices in order to sell their cocoa bean in the international market.
“There is a lot that needs to be done in terms of making sure that cocoa farmers start to adhere strictly to the International Best Practices, especially on Good Agronomic Practices (GAP).
“We believe that there should be a conscious effort by the Cocoa industry players with our smallholder farmers to make sure that we follow all these international rules that are guiding the production of sustainable cocoa beans.
“I want a situation where the smallholder cocoa farmers will ensure that we give the country quality cocoa bean without contamination, deforestation free, child labour free, this to me will ensure the country moving towards a sustainable cocoa economy,” he said.
In terms of loan, the CFAN President said “I want the gestation period will not only be on production basis, it will be on a long term basis, presently, the Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN) has been able to finance production on the existing cocoa tree, what we are looking at is a situation where there will be a financing and establishment of new cocoa plantations.”
He said he is also looking at a kind of partnership that will ensure that the report of the recently held Cocoa Summit will be fully implemented by the concerned Ministries.