The Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) says it has put a mechanism in place towards ensuring states in the Niger Delta region are better positioned in the production of cocoa in Nigeria.
Dara Akala, executive director of PIND, said during a stakeholders round table discussion on developing strategies to improve the competitiveness and growth of Niger Delta’s cocoa value chain, that it is imperative to engage stakeholders on how to work together to attract new investments into the cocoa sector and increase profitability.
Represented by James Elekwachi, the economic development manager of PIND, Akala, lamented the dearth of quality data and information on the sector as well as the absence of a well-articulated feedback mechanism between the demand side (off-takers/buyers) and supply side (producers).
“We at PIND Foundation and in collaboration with our esteemed partners organized this roundtable as a platform for stakeholders to share their experience and dialogue on ways to collectively grow the Cocoa sector in Nigeria.
“Nigerian cocoa beans are being sold at a discount price in the international market, resulting in low profitability for actors in the value chain especially the farmers,” he said.
He also noted that a value chain study had revealed low productivity and profitability of the cocoa business could be attributed to the poor yields and poor quality cocoa beans.
Segun Odusanya, acting permanent secretary, Ondo State Ministry of Agriculture, noted at the meeting, that the government had approved the establishment of a hybrid cocoa plantation in the state. The plantation is to be located at Ijugbere town in Owo council area of the state.
Odusanya stated that four productive “cocoa seed banks” which included hybrid cocoa seeds, high yielding, early maturing and resistant to drought were domiciled in the state.
On his part, Adeola Adegoke, the National Secretary of Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria lamented lack of clear cut policies to regulate the cocoa sector in the country.
Adegoke while commending PIND for bringing stakeholders together, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to do everything possible to revive the country’s cocoa industry.
YOMI AYELESO, Akure