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Cross River exports over 80,000 metric tons of cocoa annually – CAN

Cross River exports over 80,000 metric tons of cocoa annually – CAN

Former national general secretary and national vice president of Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN), Paul Manyo Ojong, says Cross River State exports over 80,000 metric tons of cocoa annually through Apapa Port.

Manyo, who is also the managing director of PAMAO and Associate Nigeria Limited and vice chairman of the State Technical Management Committee on Cocoa, said at the weekend at the first Calabar Business and Private Sector Forum with the theme, Making Calabar the Hub of Import and Export in Nigeria, organised by Nigeria Private Sector Alliance (NIPSA), held at Monty Suit, Calabar.

“For the past 15 years, CAN in the state has been encouraging increased production of cocoa by assisting farmers in raising millions of new hybrid cocoa seedlings and distributing with no cost attached.

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“More than 25% private farms are larger than 20 hectares. The dynamic is changing with more young investors becoming involved in cocoa producing local government areas in the state,” Manyo said.

Most farmers, he said, are small-scale with holdings of less than 2.5 hectares, saying Nigeria was the second highest producer of cocoa in the world between 1965 and 1973, before the advent of oil.

He said cocoa initially accounted for nearly 70% of the national export earnings, which provided income to the Federal Government as well as host communities, provided employment for millions in the value chain as farmers, traders, processors, exporters, bankers, insurers, haulage, transporters, among others.

He advised that Calabar Port should be dredged at regular interval to enable larger vessels come into the port to decongest Apapa Port.

President of the Calabar Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Eta Ndoma Egba, in his opening remark, said the Chamber had been at the forefront in advocating for the capital dredging of the Calabar Port channel. This he said would remove the draft limitations as well as the sizes of vessels that could call at the Calabar Port.

He commended Bright Flow Logistics and (NIPSA) for organising the forum as it tied with the Chamber’s objectives of facilitating a friendly business environment and making Cross River State a competitive trade and investment destination.

In a welcome address, the convener of the First Calabar Business and Private Sector Forum, Anie Iton, said the objective of the forum was to sensitise stakeholders on existing business opportunities in Cross River State.

“It is my conviction that Calabar business environment is capable of creating jobs and wealth for our citizens, and significantly contributes to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria. I have been around for quite some time to witness how the lives of our people turn positively, while our state economy improved when vessels discharged in Calabar,” Iton said.

Emmanuel Etim, state trade promotion advisor, Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Calabar, said his agency over the years had been advocating for the promotion of export base commodities.
He said the event was timely as there was need to have a zero oil economy and less dependent on oil revenue as a source of foreign exchange.