The Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) has promised to boost its production capacity so that Nigeria will surpass both Ivory Coast and Ghana in the next five years.
The CFAN noted that this will be achieved through boosting the nation’s foreign exchange earnings and Gross Domestic Product by increasing cocoa production.
Mr Adeola Adegoke, CFAN’s national president, stated this at the opening of the association’s office in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to Adegoke, the launch of a training book for smallholder cocoa farmers as well as Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) will be among the activities to increase production capacity.
According to him, the country’s cocoa production has to increase from the current 250,000 metric tons to 500,000 metric tons within the next two years, using the finest premium quality cocoa available worldwide.
Adegoke said cocoa would be produced in a sustainable manner so that the ecosystem could be preserved.
With the implementation of 400 dollars per ton support, the president said smallholder cocoa farmers would be improved.
He said this was aside from the floor price being collected in Ivory Coast and Ghana respectively to support their smallholder cocoa farmers.
“We raised an alarm on the low quality of our cocoa beans and the need for our nation to brace up to change this narrative. This is in order to prevent our cocoa from being rejected now and in the future or being sanctioned.
“This could subsequently lead to the blockage of other opportunities that could improve the livelihood of our farmers. Against the above backdrop, there is need for our association with other stakeholders to take a position among others to launch this GAP book.
“It will be launched in collaboration with the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria and the Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly of Nigeria. We are therefore willing and ready to partner with relevant cocoa stakeholders not only in Nigeria but in the cocoa world.
“This is in order to make the GAP book available free of charge to our smallholder cocoa farmers in all the cocoa producing communities and cocoa producing states in Nigeria,” Adegoke said.
He said the association would collaborate with cocoa stakeholders in conjunction with extension officers in tree crops and the private sector on how to train smallholder farmers on sustainable cocoa production.
Adegoke said the association had decided to set up a task force on monitoring and enforcement to ensure smallholder farmers followed the required standard outline in the GAP book.
“This will be done particularly considering safe use of pesticides, child labour free, prevention of deforestation, putting traceability in place, having a sustainable ecosystem and good quality cocoa in general,” he added.
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