The second National Cocoa Festival and the launch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) food for progress trace project in Nigeria will come up October 18 and 19 in Abuja.
The event which is powered by the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) in collaboration with the USDA Food for Progress programme and its Traceability and Resilience in Agriculture and Cocoa Ecosystems of Nigeria (TRACE) project, implemented by Lutheran World Relief and other industry partners.
A press release by the National President, CFAN, Comrade Adeola Adegoke and the TRACE Chief of Party, Lutheran World Relief, Mr. Nene Akwetey, said the theme of the coming event is “Upscaling Nigeria Cocoa Sustainability Beyond 2025”.
This event according to them, “will afford stakeholders from the supply chain the opportunity to strategize on how to make the Nigerian cocoa industry sustainable ahead of other cocoa origin countries and to also unveil the launching of the USDA food for progress TRACE project in Nigeria.
They said “the USDA Food for Progress Programme helps developing countries and emerging democracies modernize and strengthen their agricultural sectors while the U.S. agricultural commodities donated to recipient countries are sold on the local market and the proceeds are used to support agricultural, economic, or infrastructure development programmes. Food for Progress programme has two principal objectives: to improve agricultural productivity and to expand trade of agricultural products.
“The celebration of the 2nd National Cocoa Festival builds on the success of last year’s inaugural festival that took place in Akure, Ondo State (DOME) last year. This year’s event theme, ‘Upscaling Nigeria Cocoa Sustainability Beyond 2025’, will address the prevalent socio-economic issues harming the sustainability of Nigeria’s cocoa industry. Local and international cocoa industry stakeholders attending the festival will engage in important dialogue to devise strong, pragmatic approaches that can move the sector forward towards sustainability and return Nigeria back to being a leading cocoa-producing origin country as it was in the 60’s”.
On the second day of the festival, October 19, they said, USDA Food for Progress Programme will launch its TRACE project with the implementing lead organization, Lutheran World Relief, and other partners. This project will be a game changer for Nigeria’s cocoa industry and its cocoa farmers, buyers, processors, exporters, chocolate makers and other stakeholders. Assuredly, the USDA’s desire to promote cocoa in particular in Nigeria is a welcome opportunity to grow a commodity that generates a lot of FX for our nation. The support, collaboration and execution of the TRACE Project over the next five years will go a long way to help Nigeria achieve its goal to surpass other cocoa origin countries.
Nigeria is 4th in cocoa production after Ivory Coast, Ghana and Indonesia and is the third largest exporter of cocoa after Ivory Coast and Ghana, covering 6.5 share of global production with about 350,000 MTS of cocoa beans and with an average production per hectare at 350-400kg. Nigerian cocoa has excellent qualities, such as good bean count, low slatey, low mold, and strong aromatic and smooth flavor. These attributes make Nigerian cocoa highly desirable in the global cocoa market. There is significant need for collective action to upscale Nigerian cocoa’s sustainable production in order to meet demand, which includes improving its traceability. This effort to upscale production also requires robust support for the growers that produce the cacao to boost their productivity as well as their income through sustainable livelihood activities, such as further processing and packaging their cocoa for local consumption.
The concerted efforts of the cocoa stakeholders to work for the growth and sustenance of the industry is to be commended through the active participation and support of the industry players who will be attending the event including the Honorable Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Alhaji Abubakar Kyari; Honorable Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment Dr.Doris Uzoka-Anite; our Royal fathers led by Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja 11; Ooni of Ife, Grand Patron of CFAN; International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) group led by Executive Director Michel Arrion; Cocoa Research Institute of NNigeria (CRIN) led by Executive Director Dr. Patrick Adebola; and Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN) led by the National President Mr. M.O Abolarinwa.