The Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) has said about 95 per cent of global cocoa beans produced by smallholder farmers will not meet commercial purposes.
The association disclosed this on Thursday while stating that the upcoming Nigeria Cocoa Summit and Award would address some of the challenges of cocoa production in Nigeria.
The National President of the CFAN, Adeola Adegoke, said that cocoa used to be the highest foreign exchange earner in Nigeria in the 1950s while agriculture was about 55 percent of the nation’s GDP.
“Recent statistics have shown that cocoa gives us the second highest foreign exchange apart from crude oil even despite the fact that we are producing 250,000 metric tons.
“But we are getting this wrong on the basis of our productivity, our average production of 300-350kg per hectare, whereas in Ghana and Ivory Coast the farmers get 800-1,000 kg per hectare.
“We have Ivory Coast now producing 2.5 million metric tons, we have Ghana producing about 1.5 million metric tons, and Nigeria is producing about 250,000 metric tons
“We have less than 10 percent of commercial farmers in the cocoa farming business.
“Nigeria is adjudged to be exporting about 90 percent of our cocoa beans.
“This shows we have a low level of processing in Nigeria and we are losing a lot of millions of dollars and thereby servicing other nation’s economies,” Adegoke explained.
He said cocoa farmers were planning the summit to address challenges in the sub-sector in order to meet up international standards and generate wealth for Nigerian farmers.
Adegoke said majority of the issues to be discussed at the summit would target smallholder cocoa farmers because they produced about 95 percent of cocoa not only in Nigeria but globally.
“What the summit is all about is to tell us what happened to our national policy on cocoa, from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to Federal Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment.
“We have had a lot of stakeholders meetings, roadmaps to revitalize production and address challenges in the cocoa industry have been put in a policy paper,” he said.
The Nigeria Cocoa Summit and Award is scheduled for Nov. 30 in Abuja.