Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) , an umbrella body for small-scale cocoa farmers that constitute over 90 per cent of cocoa stakeholders and owners of farms in Nigeria, has called on the incoming administration of Bola Tinubu to be a turning point for the cocoa industry in the country.
The association, however, said it has rejected any attempt to bring total deregulation of the cocoa economy.
The CFAN said total deregulation of the cocoa industry led to cheating of farmers, low productivity and production of poor quality cocoa beans.
Adeola Adegoke, national president of CFAN, spoke in Akure shortly after he and 11 others were elected to lead the association for another four years.
Adegoke said cocoa farmers are expecting a lot from the administration of Tinubu but said they would work with the administration to bring about regulations.
Adegoke said they would push for the establishment of a Board that would not be involved in buying cocoa but would ensure farmers were provided with necessary input and develop the cocoa industry.
He said; “We have seen that we don’t have better sustainable practices and we have seen that the focus of commitment to grow the cocoa economy in the most cocoa producing states is no longer there again.
“We have seen the government’s nonchalant attitude both at the federal and state governments level, many of us as farmers cannot go to farm again.
“So we are going to push for a board that will start developing cocoa, which will bring policies that will make sure that the farmers are provided with the necessary inputs that can bring Nigeria back.
“The agenda of this association in the next two to three years is for us to be the highest cocoa producer in the world and to increase our productivity.
“We will work with the government to make sure that the National Cocoa Management put in place the enabling environment that will spur the regulations on the development of the cocoa economy which will bring back more investment in the sectors.”
BusinessDay reports that new executive members of the association that will pilot the affairs of the association are; Deputy President, Olagunju Aina (Kwara State), National Secretary Agbor Bassey (Cross Rivers), Elube Ogigbo National Treasurer (Ogun state), Oloyede Ezekiel, Financial Secretary (Kwara State), PRO, Makanjuola Akinyele (Ekiti State), Organising Secretary, Sarafat Olayemi (Oyo State).
Others are; Auditor 2, Kazeem Tijani (Edo State), Assistant Secretary Ayeni Iyabo (Ondo State), Assistant Financial Secretary, Raji Sarafa Ariyo (Oyo State), Assistant Organising Secretary, Uche Mmeregini (Abia State) while Raji Akanni from Osun state elected as Auditor 1.
Major cocoa-producing states in Nigeria are Ondo, Cross River, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, Delta, Osun and Oyo.
Others are Kwara, Nasarawa, Taraba, Zamfara, Kogi and Benue states.