The House of Representatives of the federal republic of Nigeria released a verdict yesterday that cocoa production policy in Nigeria should be reviewed.
The aim of this review is to help Nigeria become the largest cocoa-producing company in Africa again. Existing laws have been put in place to guide this review.
House of Rep, Femi Gbajabiamila, passed the statement following a motion moved by a member, Rep. Admin Aliu Kuye.
The House mandated its Committee on Agricultural Production and Services to begin the process of the review in liaison with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and report back to the floor within four weeks.
Kuye’s motion reads, “The notes that Nigeria was once a major player in cocoa production, being the second-largest producer in the world with 450,000 tons, and the country’s top foreign exchange earner in the 1950s and 1960s before the discovery of crude oil in commercial quantity in the 1970s.
“Also notes that the Nigerian Cocoa Market crashed in the 1990s as production fell to 170,000 tons and was impacted by the Structural Adjustment Policies of the late 1980s that included the dissolution of the Cocoa Marketing Board to liberalize cocoa marketing trade and allow improved cocoa output and pricing.
Further notes that the National Cocoa Development Committee, Established in December 1999 by the Obasanjo Administration, was tasked to improve cocoa quality and increase production from 170,000 tons to 300,000 tons and 600,000 tons per annum in the short and long term respectively.
“Concerned that the unregulated and liberalized Cocoa Industry is depriving Cocoa Farmers of yearly revenues as they are unable to collect the Living Income Differential (LID) of USD400 per tonne paid to Cocoa Farmers in other countries like Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, apart from the cocoa floor prices that are paid by world cocoa buyers.
“Also concerned that despite the availability of arable land and climate to sustain Cocoa production in Nigeria,
the country has fallen down the line in the pecking order in Africa and the world respectively.
“Worried that over 100 billion naira revenue is lost annually due to the Federal Government’s non-commitment to find sustainable, executable solutions to problems bedeviling the Cocoa Industry.
“Also worried that despite the cyclical ambivalence of oil, the country’s major foreign exchange earner, the Federal Government has been unable to look into cocoa which is a potential growth sector that could serve as a buffer during periods of oil-induced recessions.”