The Federal Government has said that cocoa production sale contributed an average of $313 million to the country’s gross domestic product in three decades to demonstrate its importance to the country’s agric development.
Particularly, government noted that Nigeria has the capacity to overtake Ivoire, Ghana and Indonesia to become the largest cocoa producer in the world in no distant future. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammed Sabo Nanono, made this assertion in Akure, Ondo State, while opening the newly established National Secretariat of Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) recently.
The minister said Nigeria was once a major producer of cocoa, but today lags behind Cote d’ Ivoire, Ghana and Indonesia, sharing only six per cent of global production of the commodity.
Nanono attributed the decline in production to bad weather, old trees that have not been rehabilitated, lack of improved seedlings, poor quality due to pest infestation and pesticide contamination, among others.
The minister, however, reiterated the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to the development of all sectors of the economy, especially agriculture.
“Cocoa production is on the front burner of government despite the economic downturn the world has been experiencing due to COVID-19,” Nanono said.
In a press release by his Technical Adviser (Media), Ahmed Aminu, the minister disclosed that his ministry will henceforth ensure the availability of cocoa seedlings and pods to farmers to ensure food security