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Nigeria makes N356.1bn from cocoa as minister meets committee for options

Nigeria seeks ways to boost domestic production of cocoa beans after the product and it value chain generated about N356.16 billion in 2023. That figure,…

Nigeria seeks ways to boost domestic production of cocoa beans after the product and it value chain generated about N356.16 billion in 2023.

That figure, according to the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, is the “highest agricultural contributor to the gross domestic product (GDP).”

Addressing members of the 11-man National Cocoa Management Committee (NCMC), the body set up to implement the national cocoa plan championed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in Abuja, the minister said Nigeria must be placed back on the list of top cocoa producers, a position it once occupied.

The committee, which was established in August 2022, was to develop a blueprint for the regulation and monitoring of activities in the cocoa industry.

In the last one year, the price of cocoa beans at the international market hit record high due to shortfall in the global supply of the produce.

Major producers, Ghana and Ivory Coast, which produce about 50 per cent of the global supply, have seen output decline significantly due to disease, climate change, aging cocoa trees and other factors.

This has created huge demand gap by chocolate and other industry players across the world pushing prices to hit the roof.

The situation however, presented huge opportunity for Nigerian farmers, who witnessed significant boost in the value of their cocoa, with a 100kg bag selling between N950,000 and N1.3 million.

“As you are aware, Nigeria’s cocoa export accounts for 28.72 per cent of the agricultural export (N1.24 trillion) in 2023 and 5.6 per cent of the non-oil export.

“In January 2024, a tonne of cocoa beans was valued at N1.8 million, but it is being valued at N11.2 million presently in the Nigerian market. This implies that cocoa development in Nigeria is economically viable for investment, both locally and internationally,” the minister told the committee.

Apart from the surging cocoa prices, which the country seeks to benefit, it also doesn’t want to be left behind in attracting carbon credits, a significant element of the climate change finance.

The chairman of the committee, who is also the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, A.G Abubakar, an engineer, pointed out the need for what he calls “an emergency in the cocoa sector to avoid the impending EU deforestation regulation threats and access to the carbon credit funds.”

The meeting was to brief the minister on the progress and challenges of the committee, with regard to developing a robust system to strengthen the country’s cocoa subsector and to perhaps regain its lost glory.

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