According to the latest data, Nigeria exported $489m of cocoa beans in 2020, making it the fourth largest cocoa-producing country in the world, and the fifth largest exporter of beans.
In a call to Arrion Michel, Executive Director, International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), earlier this year the Minister said that it can achieve an increase in cocoa production based on the present drive of the federal government and “relevant stakeholders towards utilization of improved varieties”.
He noted that of utmost importance is traceability and transparency in the cocoa sector, national cocoa farm irrigation, and improvement of the cocoa sector through research, input delivery, production, value addition, processing, and export.
He also reminded the ICCO that Nigeria has made a move to join the Living Income Differential (LID) initiatives (as reported in this publication) which was established by West African neighbours Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana in 2019 with the aim of guaranteeing the livelihood of smallholder farmers through a LID of $400/ton of cocoa beans sold.
He said that the two countries are benefiting while Nigerian cocoa farmers are at a disadvantage due to the “unregulated and liberalized cocoa industry in the country”.
During the call, the Minister revealed that “the meeting between Nigerian delegation and Ghana cocoa board has yielded a positive result with the recent approval to establish the National Cocoa Management Committee (NCMC)".
The committee will consist of all relevant stakeholders in the Nigerian cocoa industry, and develop a framework for the regulation and monitoring of all activities in the cocoa sector in order to achieve transparency, traceability, and sustainability, he informed the ICCO.
Michel said the price of West African cocoa is determined in Europe and noted there is a need to address the issues of market forces.
“Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Ecuador are the major producers of cocoa while Nigeria is the fourth producer of the product,” he said, noting that the product is a key to smallholder farmers in many countries.