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Lagos Aims to Become Africa’s Cocoa Capital with Three Processing Hubs

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Cocoa

CEM REPORT, AGROFOOD | In a bold move to boost Nigeria’s agricultural exports and foreign exchange earnings, the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Sanwo-Olu, has announced plans to establish three major cocoa processing hubs in the state.

This ambitious initiative aims to transform Lagos into the premier cocoa processing and trading hub in Africa, revolutionize Nigeria’s cocoa industry, drive value addition, boost foreign exchange inflows, and create a sustainable future for farmers and the economy.

Lagos on the Rise as Cocoa Processing Hub

This ambitious initiative was unveiled at the recent International Cocoa Forum held in Lagos, where Folashade Ambrose-Medebem, the state’s commissioner for commerce, cooperatives, trade, and investment, laid out the vision.

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“Lagos, with its strategic geographical position, robust infrastructure, and established role as a trade hub for value addition, is ideally poised to become a central hub for cocoa processing and trade,” she declared.

The Governor emphasized the state’s existing advantages, including its efficient ports and transportation network, which provide a prime platform for exporting processed cocoa products across Africa and the globe. This strategic location and infrastructure will be key to attracting major players in the cocoa industry and facilitating the smooth flow of goods.

“Our ports, coupled with an efficient transportation network, provide an excellent platform for exporting processed cocoa products to Africa and the world.”

Three Mega-Hubs to Process 30,000 Tonnes Annually

According to Governor Sanwo-Olu, Lagos intends to establish three major cocoa processing plants, each with a capacity to process a staggering 10,000 metric tonnes of cocoa annually. This translates to a combined processing power of 30,000 tonnes per year, significantly boosting Nigeria’s domestic processing capacity.

“We plan to establish at least three major cocoa processing plants in Lagos, each with a capacity to process 10,000 metric tonnes annually.

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“By 2026, we aim to increase local cocoa processing by 40 per cent,” Governor Sanwo-Olu stated, highlighting the transformative potential of this initiative.

Empowering Farmers and SMEs: Training for 20,000 Participants

The Lagos government’s vision extends beyond mere processing. Recognizing the crucial role of farmers and small-scale enterprises (SMEs) in the cocoa value chain, the plan includes a comprehensive training program aimed at empowering over 20,000 individuals.

“We will train and empower cocoa farmers and SMEs through various intervention programs,” the commissioner affirmed, underscoring the commitment to building a holistic and inclusive cocoa ecosystem.

Collaboration is Key: Lagos Leading the Transformation

Governor Sanwo-Olu emphasized the importance of collaboration in achieving this ambitious goal: “The journey to transforming Nigeria’s cocoa industry into a more value-added and prosperous industry requires collective efforts.”

He further added: “Lagos State, with its vision and resources, is committed to leading this transformation. Together, we can create a sustainable and prosperous future for the cocoa industry, our economy, and our people.”

Nigeria’s Cocoa Industry: Potential and Challenges

Nigeria, currently the world’s fourth-largest cocoa producer and supplier, faces challenges in maximizing the value of its cocoa exports. According to the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), the country’s global supply dipped by 3.4 per cent to 280,000 metric tonnes in the 2022-2023 season.

The Lagos government’s plan directly addresses these challenges by focusing on value addition through domestic processing. This shift has the potential to unlock significant economic benefits, create jobs, and improve livelihoods for cocoa farmers and stakeholders across the value chain.

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