BY OBUTE JAMES
The House of Representatives have urged the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to immediately work toward reviewing the cocoa production policy in the country.
The House Resolution was sequel to the motion by Hon. Ademorin Aliu Kuye, Vice Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business.
Presenting the motion on Tuesday 1st February, 2022, Kuye said that Nigeria was once a major player in cocoa production, being the second-largest producer in the world with 450,000 tons, and the country’s top foreign exchange earner in the 1950s and 1960s before the discovery of crude oil in commercial quantity in the 1970s.
“Also notes that the Nigerian Cocoa Market crashed in the 1990s as production fell to 170,000 tons and was impacted by the Structural Adjustment Policies of the late 1980s that included the dissolution of the Cocoa Marketing Board to liberalize cocoa marketing trade and allow improved cocoa output and pricing.
“Further notes that the National Cocoa Development Committee, Established in December 1999 by the Obasanjo Administration, was tasked to improve cocoa quality and increase production from 170,000 tons to 300,000 tons and 600,000 tons per annum in the short and long term respectively.
“Concerned that the unregulated and liberalized Cocoa Industry is depriving Cocoa Farmers of yearly revenues as they are unable to collect the Living Income Differential (LID) of USD400 per tonne paid to Cocoa Farmers in other countries like Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, apart from the cocoa floor prices that are paid by world cocoa buyers.
“Also concerned that despite the availability of arable land and climate to sustain Cocoa production in Nigeria, the country has fallen down the line in the pecking order in Africa and the world respectively,” Kuye said.
According to him, “over 100 billion naira revenue is lost annually due to the Federal Government’s non-commitment to find sustainable, executable solutions to problems bedeviling the Cocoa Industry.
“Also worried that despite the cyclical ambivalence of oil, the country’s major foreign exchange earner, the Federal Government has been unable to look into cocoa which is a potential growth sector that could serve as a buffer during periods of oil-induced recessions.”
Following the motion, the
Hours mandated the Committee on Agricultural Production and Services to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to review all existing Cocoa/Commodity Laws and develop a National Cocoa Policy to reposition the country as the largest producer in Africa and its recognizable position in the world and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.