Rauf Aregbesola

Monday letter2

Former Governor Rauf Aregbesola reminded me that if we don’t process cocoa but continue to export it raw to other countries, we would only have succeeded in handing over the processing of our own products to other countries; and they are going to be making more money than us. This invariably means that we are exporting jobs to other countries that will be employing their own people and making more money than us from the raw products we sold to them.

Currently, Nigeria has about 200 metric tonnes of processing capacity for cocoa lying idle because our total production for now is between 20 and 30 metric tonnes. Ede Cocoa factory is now processing all Osun cocoa production estimated at over 70,000 tonnes. Ede cocoa plant now produces chocolate and cocoa drinks and creating numerous jobs in Osun State. Ede Cocoa Processing Plant has no debt burden and it is now producing Nigeria’s cocoa cake, powder, chocolate and butter. This makes it easy for Nigeria’s processed cocoa to compete favourably. The plant remains one of the fastest selling and most desirable agricultural commodities in the international market due to the rapid growth and expansion of chocolate confectioneries and other products.

Ile Oluji Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s oldest cocoa processing firm has only processed 2,000 metric tonnes of Cocoa since the beginning of the year, which is by far below its 30,000 metric tonnes installed capacity. FTN Cocoa Processors PLC, a company listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange with a 20,000MT processing capacity showed that it has only been able to process 600MT between January and June. Multi-Trex Integrated Foods PLC, Nigeria’s largest cocoa processing factory with a production capacity of 65,000MT per annum, has since been shut down and thereafter taken over by the Asset Management Corporation Organisation of Nigeria (AMCON) over a N5 billion non-performing loan the processor acquired from Sky Bank.

Osun State is putting a stop to billions of naira that Nigerians are using to import chocolate and other cocoa products from EU countries. Osun Cocoa Processing Plant, Ede is now producing “Made in Nigeria” Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Cake, Cocoa Powder and chocolates and set to flood the world market with “Made in Nigeria” chocolates. Osun Cocoa plant, Ede is back after more than 30 years of wobbling and fumbling. Despite living in one of the world’s biggest grower of cocoa beans, Nigerian residents have never quite embraced chocolate as part of the national diet. Aregbesola has provided a lifeline for cocoa farmers in Nigeria.

Inwalomhe Donald, Osogbo