Nigeria is repositioning the cocoa industry to regain its lost glory as the highest foreign exchange earner.
At the Cocoa Summit held in Abuja, President Muhammadu Buhari said government was working hard to improve Cocoa business for local and foreign investors and also to encourage the development of domestic consumption.
“This sector has suffered neglect as a result of over reliance on crude oil…Government is committed to restoring the agricultural and industrial sector to its prime position and I call on all stakeholders to key into government’s policy of promotion of non-oil export as an alternative source of revenue. I wish to assure you that the implementation of our reforms of the Ease of Doing Business will be the backbone for the repositioning of the cocoa sub- sector in Nigeria,’’ President Buhari explained.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh represented President Buhari at the event.
The Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Emelamah reiterated government commitment to support the development of cocoa in line with the diversification agenda.
“The present government has demonstrated tremendous efforts to support the development of the cocoa sector through the agricultural Transformation Agenda, the Cocoa growth Enhancement Scheme, introduction of high yielding cocoa varieties, increase in local consumption of cocoa and cocoa products. Because of the importance of Agricultural Commodity government has also put in place policies to promote participation in the agribusiness and restructuring of national apex commodity Association to make it more effective,’’ Dr Emelamah said.
The President, Cocoa Association of Nigeria, Mr. Sayina Riman says Nigeria is the next big deal in the world cocoa market and advocates a plan document to harness opportunities which cocoa can provide.
The Executive Director, International Cocoa Organisation, Dr. Jean-Marc Anga said it would assist Nigeria in the implementation of its action plan on cocoa.
Nigeria is currently ranked the fourth largest producer of cocoa beans in the World after Ivory Coast, Ghana and Indonesia.
The theme of the summit was ‘Cocoa a Strategic Commodity for National Economic Development.’