‘Nigerian Cocoa Farmers Losing $400 per Tonnes to West Africa Counterparts’

Gilbert Ekugbe

The National President, Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), Mr. Adeola Adegoke, has stated that cocoa farmers are losing $400 per tonnes when compared with its West African counterparts due to the unregulated cocoa industry.

Adegboke called on the country’s economic managers to bring sanity to the cocoa industry in Nigeria.

In a chat with journalists, added that the $400 per tonnes, which he described as Living Income Differential (LID), represented N55 billion losses annually.

He said: “Because of the unregulated cocoa economy in Nigeria, there is no measure put in place to be able to collect this $400 aside from the floor price that we sell our beans. This $400 is an addition that is meant to support the livelihood of the cocoa farmers in all cocoa-producing nations. In Ghana and Ivory Coast today, they are collecting it. But today, Nigeria is been denied $400 per tonne, multiply it by 265,000 metric tonnes, and it would be running into about N55 billion.

“This is to show you that the farmers are been shut-changed and it is because of this our unregulated cocoa economy in Nigeria. That is why we are saying that for us to move forward to be even with our counterpart in Ghana and Ivory Coast we have to collect that money.

“We can’t allow about N55 billion annually to waste. This is enough to turn around the fortunes of smallholders farmers in Nigeria. This is enough to turn around the economy of the cocoa communities and to move the economy of the nation forward.”

Adegboke also said that in Nigeria today, cocoa production has grown from 165,000 tonnes in 1999-2000 to 250,000 tonnes in 2013-2014 mainly as a result of high grower prices and to a limited extent, the government support as outlined in the Cocoa Transformation Action Plan of 2015.

“However, the total harvested area amounts to 640,000 hectares and the average yield is about 400 kg per hectares.

“I can tell you that yield improvement is constrained by the age of the farmers, proper management, low farm input, infrastructure, extension services. Most importantly, these include inadequate control of cocoa swollen shoot virus disease and the Phytophthora Pod Rot (PPR) or black pod disease. In addition to these, is farmers’ lack of access to loans and the fact that many cocoa fields are old,” he said.

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