– The federal government plans to improve cocoa production in Nigeria
– A committee was established and saddled with the responsibility of achieving this
– Nigeria is the seventh largest producer of cocoa in the world
The President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government has announced plans to become the world largest producer and exporter of cocoa in a move some have touted as a way of stopping the country’s over-dependence on oil.
Vanguard reports that this was disclosed by Chief Audu Ogbeh who is the minister of of agriculture at the launch of the Cocoa Re-launch Committee led by Dr Olayiwola Oluwole in Abuja.
The minister said the ambition of the government to reach the top of the ladder and be the world largest producer was possible with the new committee.
He said: “In-house here we can say is a shame for us to be number seven on the list of cocoa producers in the world, but we must reverse it to be at the top and that is why we are here. This is the time to do it and no other time than to do it now.
“Cocoa can be grown in many parts of the country. We are going to have cocoa relaunch campaign in March at Ondo State, and we want all cocoa farmers from cocoa producing states to be present.
“We cannot afford to remain seventh cocoa producing nation. We are going to take over from Cote D’Ivoire as the largest cocoa producer in the world.
“We can earn huge foreign exchange from cocoa because oil and gas has done damage to our economy and we have to go back to agriculture to rescue the economy.
“You have to come up with materials that could be used for cocoa production because cocoa can be grown in many parts of the country and presently there are 27 states that can grow cocoa. The cocoa farmers need to be enlightened on what they could do to improve on what they have been doing in the industry.”
Ogbeh expressed confidence in the ability of the committee and said they would be in charge and not the government.
Dr Oluwole who is the chairman promised the the committee will work tirelessly to achieve the desire.