The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, has attributed the loss of power of Nigerian cocoa in the world market to the lack of improved seedlings leading to poor quality production.
The minister declared this on Tuesday, in Abuja at the Nigerian Cocoa Summit and Awards in Abuja with the theme: “Cocoa: Past, Present and Future”.
Abubakar, who was represented, the Federal Department of Agriculture, Dr. Karima Babangida, said the ministry was collaborating with all relevant stakeholders to increase cocoa production from the current 250,000 metric tons to 714,000 metric tons.
“This is in line with the new National Cocoa Plan that is proposed to be sent to the Federal Executive Council of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investments,” he said.
According to him, agriculture is the key to people’s collective survival, both in terms of job creation, income generation, food and nutrition security and foreign exchange earnings.
He stated that the National Cocoa Plan (2021 to 2030) aimed to promote a sustainable cocoa economy, the resurgence of production and industrialization to unleash robust domestic consumption and farm prosperity.
He said the Federal Government will support states seeking to diversify the economy, especially in the area of increasing cocoa productivity to ensure that Nigeria regains its position as one of the world’s largest cocoa producing countries.
The national president of the Cacao Producers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), Comrade Adeola Adegoke, lamented that cacao, which brought in the largest foreign exchange earnings in the 1950s to 1960s, had reduced its earnings due to a large amount challenges facing the subsector.
Adegoke said that the arrival of climate change has added another factor that negatively affects cocoa production.
While he explained that Nigeria was considered the second largest cocoa producer in the past, he said that the country currently produces around 250,000 metric tons.
In his comment, Industry, Trade and Investment Minister Otunba Niyi Adebayo said that Nigeria had the potential to become Africa’s leading trade center by taking advantage of Africa’s continental free trade agreements (AFCFTAs).
According to him, the ministry is mandated to improve competitiveness and provide the enabling environment that will boost Nigeria’s agricultural products sector.
He appealed to private sector groups to support the growth of agriculture knowing that the Federal Government is committed to developing policies aimed at developing the cocoa sector.
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