The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has indicated that it would support the cocoa value chain to increase the production of quality cocoa and assist farmers on best practices.
The National President of Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), Adeola Adegoke, in an interview with Tribune Online, said the association had met with the CBN, and they expressed readiness to intervene in the value chain.
Adegoke further said that sensitisation and training of cocoa farmers were ongoing across the cocoa-producing states on the best way to produce quality cocoa for the market.
“We have started all programs and we must be thankful to President Muhammadu Buhari who through the CBN has informed us that they are also coming to finance cocoa production. We are happy.
“I have met with the Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele, through the Deputy Governor, and I have put up our position and recommendations to the CBN, and they have expressed their readiness to intervene in the sector to making sure that farmers produce better cocoa per hectare and at the same time produce quality cocoa,” he said.
Speaking further on the Association’s activities for this year, he said they were coming with enlightenment programs for their members in terms of ensuring good infrastructure within the cocoa environment.
“Like what you witnessed last year, my leadership took over and we rose to the occasion especially looking at what we can do as an organization of cocoa farmers in Nigeria, and look at what we can achieve to upgrade our productivity and make sure that the prosperity of our farmers is expanded because the farmers are very important and key to deepening the Nigerian cocoa economy.
“We are also making sure that we come up with some programs in terms of enlightenment, in terms of making sure that infrastructure within the cocoa environment are good, and in terms of loan and finance which are almost the major issues affecting the sector.
“Those are some of the things we have itemized, and making sure that our farmers are better organized in each cocoa producing state,” Adegoke said.
He, however, said they would continue with sensitization of cocoa farmers across four cocoa producing states on increased productivity.
“So, I believe this year, we are going to continue with our intervention programs, through the sensitization of our farmers, education of our farmers across the cocoa producing states, so we are starting from Kwara State to Osun state, then to Ekiti state and Ondo state.
“We believe that we don’t have other way round than putting our farmers to produce better quality cocoa and create a nice environment for our farmers to increase their productivity so that this can ultimately increase their income,” he added.
When asked the production target for this year, he said “it is quiet unfortunate that we are having a decline in our production, probably you can see that there are no interventions from the stakeholders, you can see the result.
“We must look at how we can make sure we increase production by supporting the system because we have serious challenges with our production.”