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Nigeria to lead Ivory Coast, Ghana in cocoa

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By Abiodun Okunloye

TRACE project will assist Nigeria in catching up in a sustainable manner.

According to the country’s cocoa producers organisation, Nigeria is on track to surpass the Ivory Coast and Ghana in building a sustainable supply chain due to the collaborative efforts of stakeholders, the US government and the resurrection of commodities boards by Africa’s largest economy. In light of this, the United States has approved a $22 million five-year development programme to be carried out by Lutheran World Relief as part of the US Traceability and Resilience in Agriculture and Cocoa Ecosystems in Nigeria (TRACE) project.

Traceability, climate-smart practises, inputs support for smallholder farmers, development of capacity along the value chain, and exports are all areas that will be addressed over the program’s five-year duration, which will be carried out in conjunction with the cocoa stakeholders in Nigeria. According to Adeola Adegoke, the national president of the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria, the successful execution of the TRACE project will assist the country in catching up to other countries, such as Ivory Coast and Ghana, that cultivate the commodity in a more environmentally friendly manner.

The country should be recognised as a cocoa country of origin.

As the TRACE project launches and the government is prepared to revive the Nigeria Cocoa Board, he urged the European Union to recognise Nigeria as the country of origin that is taking the challenge by its neck to address the difficulties of cocoa sustainability. When Nigeria was recognised as the top producer of flavoured cocoa beans in West Africa with a good scent, the commodity board gained prominence as the industry’s driving force and a major source of foreign exchange profit for the federal government, he added.

When properly implemented, this programme would restore the industry to its former glory, when Nigeria ranked second in the world for its production in the 1960s and 1970s, with an annual output of roughly 490,000 MTS. In anticipation of the possible introduction of stringent new EU sustainability standards, leading producers Ivory Coast and Ghana have reportedly made great progress towards curbing deforestation. The European Union has recommended a complete prohibition on the export of cocoa beans from countries that do not practise sustainable agriculture by 2025.

Currently, Nigeria is ranked as the fourth producer.

Ivory Coast and Ghana each announced in separate reports in 2022 that they had achieved new levels of traceability, and both of these statements were made public. It was reported that Ivory Coast had mapped 3.2 million hectares of its production, while Ghana said it had outlined 72 percent of its total growing area through its national Cocoa Management System. At the time, these two countries covered a total of 845,635 farms as well as 515,762 farmers.

At the moment, Nigeria is now ranked fourth in production, after Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Indonesia, in which they each produce over 2.2 million MTS, 800,000 MTS, and 739,483 MTS, respectively, while Nigeria only produces 340,000 MTS and is aiming to produce 500,000 MTS by the year 2024. Following Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Indonesia in terms of production share, it accounts for 6.5 percent of the total global output. The export of the commodity beans brings in an annual revenue of $700 million for Nigeria.

Several difficulties affecting the sector will be tackled.

Lastly, he believes Nigeria cannot afford to let her guard down, given the magnitude of her investments in the sector, which are estimated to be worth close to 500 billion naira. Stakeholders have already begun taking several initiatives that are now tackling some of the difficulties that are militating against the sustainability of the industry. These challenges include the issue of child labour, forest loss, accountability, and the usage of unapproved or banned pesticides in farms, amongst others.

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