CEM REPORT, AGRICULTURE | Nigeria’s cocoa industry is likely to fall in ranks as farmers lament poor funding among other challenges confronting the industry.
Listing funding as the major hindrance, farmers in the sector also said the high cost of farm inputs is gradually becoming an issue to worry about.
Thisday reports that the National President of Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN),. Adeola Adegoke said that financing the cocoa industry has remained a challenge compared to farmers involved in other related commodities having easy access to funds when compared to cocoa farmers.
“Come to look at it, what is the finance level even from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) and not to talk of any other interventions, which sometimes exclude the cocoa sector because of the gestation period,”
According to him, Nigeria which presently ranks fifth in world cocoa production is likely to fall in ranks if the government doesn’t make concrete efforts to strengthen the industry, especially in the provision of land for farmers.
He added that if the government does not provide incentives to attract the youth the industry will face a quick death.
“Availability of lands, especially for our youths is also a major challenge. Crops that are not tree crops get access to farmlands easily, but cocoa because of its requirement for vast lands and gestation period does not get access to the availability of lands.
“The government must make conscious efforts to make sure land availability is always guaranteed to encourage the successful generation. Even if we are fifth in world cocoa production, there is a likelihood that we would drop downwards if our youths are not trained or provided incentives to go into cocoa production and part of it is the land, which is the key factor. So, the government must make lands available for youths to venture into cocoa production.”
Furthermore, Adegoke decried the cost of farm input growing in geometrical dimensions while the profit margins of cocoa farmers are diminishing.
“There is a need for the federal government to come up with some kind of subsidy for the key areas of support such as pesticides, fertilizer are subsidised.”