The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), including stakeholders and the Nigerian cocoa farmers have concluded plans to come together in Abuja this week in a move to address the prevalent socioeconomic issues harming the sustainability of Nigeria’s cocoa industry.
The event which is the second edition of the National Cocoa Festival will bring together local and international cocoa industry stakeholders to devise pragmatic approaches that can move the sector forward towards sustainability and return Nigeria back to being a leading cocoa-producing origin country as it was in the 60’s.
The USDA through its Food for Progress Program will also launch its Traceability and Resilience in Agriculture and Cocoa Ecosystems of Nigeria (TRACE) project with the implementing lead organization, Lutheran World Relief, and other partners.
According to a statement jointly signed by the national president, Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), Comrade Adeola Adegoke and TRACE chief of party, Lutheran World Relief, Nene Akwetey in Abuja, the project will be a game changer for Nigeria’s cocoa industry and its cocoa farmers, buyers, processors, exporters, chocolate makers and other stakeholders.
Adegoke said that the USDA’s desire to promote cocoa in particular in Nigeria remains a welcome opportunity to grow a commodity that generates a lot of FX for the nation.
“The support, collaboration and execution of the TRACE project over the next five years will go a long way to help Nigeria achieve its goal to surpass other cocoa origin countries.
There is a significant need for collective action to upscale Nigerian cocoa’s sustainable production in order to meet demand, which includes improving its traceability.
This effort to upscale production also requires robust support for the growers that produce the cacao to boost their productivity as well as their income through sustainable livelihood activities, such as further processing and packaging their cocoa for local consumption”, the statement reads.