By Prince Okafor 

Nigeria’s agribusiness in cocoa processing and export, Johnvents Industries Limited, JIL, said its launching cocoa sustainability programme to empower 150,000 farmers. 

The first phase of the project will see Johnvents farmers plant cocoa trees over 300,000 hectares of land in Ondo State. 

Speaking during the company’s 5,000 MT milestone ceremony in Akure factory, JIL, Managing Director, John Alamu, stated that as the company continues to experience massive growth and operation efficiency, it is essential that farmers’ empowerment maintains the front-burner of its sustainability programme.

He said, “As we achieve impressive milestones, we must keep our eyes on the future and be ready to attain our short-term plans and think long-term. Our farmers remain our core, and empowering them with the right amount of training, inputs, and farmlands should be a major focus of our sustainability programme.

“Our goal is to empower 150,000 farmers in 10 years. We will kick off the project this July by providing 300,000 hectares of farmland, top-quality seedlings, and input. And most importantly, provide requisite training.

 “We will be starting with 1,000 farmers in the first pilot. A 3-day intensive workshop to train and retrain the farmers in growing certified cocoa will commence this week. On the third day, we will present them with high-quality seedlings and show them the 300,000 hectares for planting the next generation of cocoa trees. We thank the Ondo state government for making it possible through its support and land lease agreement.”

The managing director emphasised that this is the next frontier, as best agronomy practices and traceability are ways players in the ecosystem remain relevant in the immediate future. 

JIL’s Sustainability Manager, Bolanwa Oladokun, described the project as a more significant commitment to the global standard of agricultural practice, one aligned with the Rainforest Alliance guideline.

Oladokun said: “The 150,000 farmers plan mirrors the goals of the Rainforest Alliance to improve the livelihoods of producers, farm workers, and their families and communities as well as protect nature and mitigate the consequences of climate change.”

“We are reinventing cocoa sustainability in Nigeria. We are keen on the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard because we see ourselves as a global company in Africa. 

“We hold ourselves to a higher standard and are proud to boast the ecosystem through this backward integration initiative.”

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