Cocoa stakeholders on collision path over calls for ban
By Dayo Johnson Akure
National President, Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN), Mr. Sayina Robinson Riman, has picked holes in the call for a ban on the export of cocoa beans from Nigeria by the Cocoa Processors Association of Nigeria (COPAN) Riman said it was “wrong for COPAN to have expressed its view on the pages newspapers, since such could be done through CAN, which is the umbrella association of all professional and interest groups in the cocoa value chain.
He therefore frowned at the option taken by COPAN chairman Mr. Oladimeji Owofemi.
According to him the “suggestions about placing a ban on export of cocoa beans would send the wrong signals to government and the international community.
While noting the huge investments in setting up cocoa processing plants, cost of running the factories profitably and the challenge of infrastructure failure,CAN noted that “ the position taken by the processors smacked of selfishness and intolerance.
Riman pointed out that each link in the cocoa value chain was as valuable as the other and none may undermine the relevance of any other.
He noted that farmers, traders, input providers, researchers, warehouse and collateral managers, exporters, processors, transporters were all important to the sector.
He noted that “a similar attempt to ban export of cocoa beans in 1992, also championed by a group of cocoa processors, led to farmers abandoning cocoa farms and destruction of many farms.
He said that the position being canvassed by the processors was alien to the spirit of free enterprise, adding none of cocoa producing countries like Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroun bans export of cocoa beans.
Riman urged the cocoa processors to look inward and look for more creative ways to solve their challenges instead of coming up with suggestions that could cause ripples and upset the stabilizing cocoa economy in Nigeria.
He also advised to take advantage of the cocoa transformation agenda of the federal government to embark on backward integration to overcome their supply challenges.
Chairman of the Ondo State Farmers Congress, Joshua Oyedele, stated that the processors were misguided in their suggestion, adding that any attempt to ban cocoa bean export would be resisted by farmers.
Oyedele said that the move by processors was retrogressive, anti-people and affects the economy of the country negatively.