Inaugurates National Cocoa Management Committee

As Nigeria begins new cocoa revolution

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

The Federal Government, Tuesday, disclosed that cocoa farmers will benefit from Living Income Differential (LID) of $400 per tonne along with counterparts in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

This was made known by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, in a keynote address during inauguration of 11-man National Cocoa Management Committee, NCMC, at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.

Abubakar tasked the newly inaugurated the newly inaugurated NCMC as part of its terms of reference on  urgent draft charter for the operations of NCMC which will enable an Executive Bill to be forwarded to the National Assembly for legal backing.

He explained that the inauguration is the culmination of enormous collective efforts based on a recent visit by some officials from his Ministry to one of the largest world cocoa producing and exporting countries, Ghana to study the implementation of Living Income Differential, LID.

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According to him, Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire introduced the Living Income Differential, LID, as a premium on their cocoa and as tool to complement their prices of cocoa in international market.

He said Nigeria cannot wait to join Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, and in order to work out modalities for Nigerian cocoa farmers to start benefitting from this initiative like their counterparts in Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire, this committee is being set up.
cocoa farmers will benefit from Living In0come Differential (LID) of $400 per tonne along with counterparts in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

This was made known by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, in a keynote address during inauguration of 11-man National Cocoa Management Committee, NCMC, at the Ministry’s he
However, the Minister highlighted challenges in the cocoa industry the Committee is expected to tackle which include; pest and diseases, logistics such as rural roads and infrastructure, old Cocoa plantations, ageing Cocoa farmers, processing, access to finance, environmental concerns such as deforestation, climate change and absence of a National Coordinating body.

The Committee is made up of Chairman, ENGR Adbullahi Garba ABUBAKAR,
Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Abuja; Secretary, Dr Patrick Adebola, Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, CRIN, Ibadan; Member, Olutobaba Ajayi, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; Member, Ibrahim Mohammed, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; Member, S.O. G Tuayeringha, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment; Member, James Oyesola, Ministry of Agriculture, Ogun State; Member, Williams Ifere, Ministry of Agriculture, Cross River State; Member, Prince Martins Awofisayo, Harvestfields Industry Limited; Members, Adeola Adegoke, Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria; Member, Muktar Bolarinwa, Cocoa Association of Nigeria; and member, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

He said: “The purpose of this is to increase the share benefits received by cocoa farmers in these countries.

“The NCMC shall develop a framework for the regulation and monitoring of the activities of the Cocoa sector to make the industry more transparent.

“The NCMC shall develop a strategic plan towards the establishment of a Nigerian Cocoa Board.

“The NCMC, as an important regulatory body in the Nigerian Cocoa sector shall
upscale their activities to all cocoa producing states.

“The NCMC shall organise and conduct a national conference (of) for Commissioners of Agriculture from 36 states and FCT to sensitize them on the importance of LID and efforts of the Federal Government towards ensuring that our small holder cocoa farmers also enjoy the benefit like Ghana and Cote ‘Ivoire.

“The NCMC shall develop Local, State and Federal Government strategic implementation plan of the National Cocoa Management Committee.

“The NCMC shall develop a Nigerian charter towards joining the Ghana/Cote d’Ivoire initiative.

“The NCMC shall establish data bank for all Multinational Companies and Exporters of Cocoa Beans from Nigerian Ports.

“One of your immediate tasks is to come up with an urgent draft charter for the operations of NCMC which will enable an Executive Bill to be forwarded to the National Assembly for legal backing so as to meet the demand of joining the Ghana/Cote d’Ivoire initiative to deliver Living Income Differential (LID) of $400/ tonne, which will in turn improve the livelihood of our small holder Cocoa farmers in the Country.”

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, in an address of welcome, described task before the committee is enormous following the litany of problems plaguing the cocoa industry over the years.

However, Umakhihe said: “The expectations from this committee are enormous. Given the experience and competence of the nominees, this Ministry is looking forward to robust and practicable recommendations, which if implemented will not only increase the productivity of the Cocoa farmers but will also enhance the quality and value addition to the Nigerian Cocoa Sector.”

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Committee who also doubles as Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, FDA, Engr Abdullahi Abubakar, said the Committee is commencing their assignment immediately, and it would start with drafting a Nigerian Cocoa Charter, which will be a prerequisite to join Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire Initiative.

He added that the leadership of the Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire Initiative will see what the Committee has done by September 2022, and based on this the whole of August would be used to ensure the Nigeria Cocoa Charter is ready.

“We are trying to have the Cocoa Board back. We used to have in those days but because of certain practices is no longer in existence.

“For it to be established we need the blessing of the National Assembly.

“The Cocoa Board have the responsibility of monitoring the production, processing and marketing of the cocoa in this country and export.

“So the Living Income Differential, LID, our farmers are to enjoy cannot be done without a board”, he stated.

He added that the Bill is important to cocoa farmers and asked that the National Assembly pass the Bill into law when they receive it.

He also said there will be value addition in terms of processing, and the Ministry is supporting the cocoa value chain from beginning to end, hence no need to export raw cocoa to the international market.

However, he said despite Nigeria is fifth largest exporter of cocoa in the world, farmers are not getting value for their productivity, because they export raw cocoa.

He also said cocoa farmers are going to be sensitized on best practices in cocoa, and also for more to come on board.

He added that as most cocoa trees are aging the research institutes would be made to come up with best breeds and seeds that would boost cocoa production in the next three years.

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