President of the Cocoa Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (CFAN), Adeola Adegoke, has said the country is losing about N60 billion yearly as a result of refusal to collect Living Income Differential (LID) for cocoa producers.
Adegoke, who disclosed this yesterday, in Abuja, during a workshop organised by Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA), in conjunction with the University of Ibadan, said there is the need to follow international best practices that support the production of cocoa in the world.
LID is a cocoa pricing agreement first launched in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to help cocoa farmers escape from poverty by adding a premium to the prevailing market price.
According to Adegoke, the foreign exchange deficit being experienced at the moment can only be solved by the cocoa economy.
He said in the nation’s economic indices, cocoa is next to crude oil in terms of percentage as revealed by its potentials adding that the liberalisation business and the ‘all comers affairs’ syndrome has contributed in sinking the country to where it is at the moment.
In the programme themed “Cocoa commercialisation in Nigeria: Issues, prospects and policy requirements”, Adegoke added that farmers must begin to do away with child labour practices and on no account must children be allowed to work on the farms, but should rather be sent to school.
He said there must be certifications, traceability of all farmers of cocoa, the number of hectares of land on which they farm cocoa, the type of cocoa crop they produce, as well as the number of children that they have.
He added that the association is poised towards leading the country to regain its lost glory in the comity of cocoa producing countries in the world, noting that in the 1960s, Nigeria was producing 590,000 metric tonnes and cocoa and was adjudged the second in the world.
“When the oil boom came, cocoa was relegated. In the last two months, cocoa has shown it is the highest to oil in terms of foreign exchange. It means the foreign exchange deficit we are experiencing can only be solved economically. As of today, what cocoa is bringing to Nigeria is next to oil. When you look at the percentage, it shows the potential.
“In Ghana today, each farmer collects $400 on each tonne of cocoa after the fall in price. Same in Ivory Coast and that is why we believe that Nigeria must begin to collect Living Income Differential (LID) and refusal to collect it makes us lose N60 billion yearly.”
“There is a need to follow international best practice. It portends that our farmers must begin to do away with child labour. Apart from this, there must be certifications. We must start now to bring traceability of all farmers producing cocoa, the number of hectares they are producing must be known, the type of cocoa they are producing and the number of children that they have. This is sustainability,” he said.
Chairman, House Committee on Agric Colleges, Universities and Institutions of Agriculture, Munil Uba Danabundi, said policies that have been reached on the production and sustainability of the cocoa economy must be backed by legislation, adding that the problem with remarkable policies has been the issue of implementation.
“Policies have been very good in this country but implementation has been something else and we gave a lot of challenges in it. Cocoa farming is one of the sustainable investments that will give employment to the teeming Nigerian youths. We are not going to leave policies at the ministry level anymore without being backed by law”, he added.
On his part, Country Lead and Principal Investigator of APRA in Nigeria, Dr. Adeola Olajide, said the government should create a cocoa utilisation and consumption policy, adding that we must consume our own cocoa.
She said cocoa web development policy and money value chains in terms of beverages and cosmetics should be included.
“We need processing zones and we need agricultural logistics and services for the cocoa sector. With the role that cocoa plays in income generation, it should be given priority”, she said.Follow us on social media