NIGERIA – Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, said on Monday that Nigeria’s export of cocoa  is estimated to generate $1.3 billion (about N202.5 billion) as revenue for the country this year.

Adesina who stated this in Abuja at the Nigerian Cocoa Summit 2014, said cocoa generated $1.2 billion in 2013 while the same commodity generated $900million in 2012.

He noted that the production output of cocoa has grown from 250,000 metric tonnes to 370,000 metric tonnes in the last three years of the implementation of Cocoa Value Chain.

He assured that the production of cocoa would be scaled up to 600,000 metric tonnes by 2016.

As part of new initiatives to boost the production of cocoa in the country, he said the Nigerian Cocoa Research Institute had released  eight new hybrids of cocoa, adding that the Federal Government has distributed 1.4 million cocoa pods to farmers in cocoa producing states across the country.

Given the enormous potentials of cocoa sub-sector, the Minister has also proposed the setting aside of N100 billion as Cocoa Development Fund, aimed at making Nigeria a global powerhouse in cocoa production.

He explained that the Cocoa Development Fund would be raised through public-private partnership, adding that it would bring about massive turn-around of the sector.

Adesina further disclosed that Cocoa Corporation of Nigeria would soon be established to regulate the activities of the cocoa sub-sector as well as shore up global competitiveness of Nigerian cocoa.

He pointed out that currently, the activities in the cocoa sub-sector are uncoordinated as Nigerian cocoa loses value in the global market because it is not branded.

The Corporation, Adesina explained would be driven by the private sector, as the government is expected to provide enabling environment.

According to him, “The absence of marketing institutions around cocoa sector has led to uncertainties in the Nigerian cocoa market which for decades has crippled the system.

“We are going to fix this problem once and for all. To fill the institutional void that the dissolution of Cocoa Marketing Board created and to allow us to compete with our neighbouring countries, the government supported institution called: ‘Cocoa Corporation of Nigeria’ will be established.

“This Corporation will not be run by government. It is going to be private-sector driven. But it is going to be public sector- enabled”.

October 28, 2014;