• Monday, March 04, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Lagos plans to establish three cocoa processing hubs to boost export

Lagos plans to establish three cocoa processing hubs to boost export

…to process 30,000mt annually

To drive value addition and boost the country’s foreign exchange inflows through agriculture, the Lagos State Governor plans to establish three cocoa processing hubs.

Folashade Ambrose-Medebem, commissioner for commerce, cooperatives, trade, and investment, who was representing Governor Babatunde Sanwo-Olu, made this known during the International Cocoa Forum held recently in Lagos.

She noted that the state is a trade hub for value addition and with its strategic geographical position and robust infrastructure, Lagos is poised to become a central hub for cocoa processing and trade.

“Our ports, coupled with an efficient transportation network, provide an excellent platform for exporting processed cocoa products to Africa and the world,” Sanwo-Olu said.

“We plan to establish at least three major cocoa processing plants in Lagos, each with a capacity to process 10,000 metric tonnes annually,” he stated.

He said that the processing plants in the country will increase their cocoa processing by 40 percent by 2026. The commissioner added that the state will train over 20,000 cocoa farmers and small-scale enterprises through various intervention programmes.

According to him, the journey to transforming Nigeria’s cocoa industry into a more value-added and proper industry requires collaboration, adding that Lagos State, with its vision and resources, is committed to leading this transformation.

“Together, we can create a sustainable and prosperous future for the cocoa industry, our economy, and our people,” he explained.

Nigeria, the world’s fourth-largest cocoa producer and supplier, saw the value of its global supply decline by 3.4 percent to 280,000 metric tonnes in the 2022–2023 season, according to the International Cocoa Organisation’s latest data on global production (ICCO).

The country exports the bulk of its cash crops raw, despite its agricultural potential. Africa’s most populous country is still falling short of its non-oil exports owing to low agro-processing and a lack of competitiveness.

In his remarks, Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State commended the ongoing efforts of the Western Region Development Initiative (DAWN), a private sector-led initiative to employ a regional framework to revive cocoa production in the country.

He urged each state in the southwest region to build a local revival plan for cocoa that should have a bottom-top approach, saying it is the best strategic approach for the nation and especially the cocoa-producing states.

“To pursue that line, each state needs to consider a standing partnership with the Cocoa Research Institute. This can be complemented by the various researchers in various higher schools in our states,” said Governor Ademola, who was represented by Tola Faseru, commissioner of agriculture, Osun State.

“The reality confronting us is the imperative of returning to our old cash crops with deep value additions and processing to finished products,” the governor said.

Speaking on Osun’s performance in the production of the commodity, he noted that Osun can produce 80,000 metric tonnes annually but is currently producing 22,000 metric tonnes, noting that cocoa remains the major source of earnings for the state as it contributes significantly to the state treasury.

“The graded figure for the year 2023 is 13,000 metric tonnes, with the state earning N108 million. In my administration’s drive to attain the number one position in the community of cocoa-producing states, we are doubling down on the implementation of our agenda.”