Nigeria realised about $900 million from the export of cocoa and cocoa products in 2012, Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga said during the National Sensitisation Workshop of the project on Sanitary Phytosanitary Standards Capacity Building in Africa at Chelsea Hotel, Abuja, and last week.
In his address read by the Ag. Permanent Secretary, Olakunle Sogboola, the minister said cocoa is the second largest foreign exchange earner after crude oil and generates over two million jobs directly and indirectly along its value chain.
“The global market for cocoa is very huge, growing at an average of 3 percent per annum. Nigeria’s cocoa export has equally grown over the years by an average of 40 percent annually and a cumulative of 280 percent from $215m in 2006 to $822.8m from the export of cocoa and cocoa products last year.”
According to the minister, “Nigeria is the world’s 4th largest producer and exporter of cocoa. Paradoxically, over 90 percent of the cocoa produced is exported; our domestic consumption of this strategic commodity is barely 3 percent. Given this scenario, not only is increased local consumption encouraged, the pursuance of value addition in our export drive has also become the ultimate goal of substantially reducing the export of raw cocoa and ensuring stable and improved income for our farmers”.
Aganga noted that the primary goal of the country was to secure a sustainable market for cocoa and cocoa products as well as effort to promote food safety and prevent threats of pesticides and contaminants to human health.
According to him, “This capacity building workshop- the SPS Cocoa Africa Projects’- at this time is not only appropriate, but also in line with government’s commitment to the continued growth and development of this vital industry through improved quality standards. It is also in compliance with prescribed international regulations regarding pesticides residues, banned agro-chemicals and other harmful substances.
“It is expected that at the end of the implementation of this project in Nigeria, we would have trained adequate personnel capable of conducting in-depth analysis of cocoa and other food products, in addition to well equipped and functional laboratories, which will conform to any SPS regulation anywhere in the world”
The minister said that his Ministry and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture will continue to encourage the development of farmers and commodity associations for proper orientation and education on SPS issues with a view to promoting and strengthening global market access for our agricultural and non oil products.