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Nigeria Records 5.2% Fall in Cocoa Production

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Cocoa farm

Nigeria’s cocoa production has dropped by 5.2 per cent from 248,000 metric tonnes in the 2013/2014 planting season to 235,000 metric tonnes in the 2014/2015 season, according to information gathered from stakeholders in the cocoa value chain.

Stakeholders had expected an increase to about 350,000 metric tonnes for the 2014/2015 season following the distribution of improved seedlings by the Federal Government with a target to increase yield and make the country the largest producer of cocoa in Africa before the year 2020, and to develop a globally competitive manufacturing industry around the Nigerian cocoa bean.

Cocoa is currently the country’s leading agricultural export, while Nigeria is the world’s fourth largest producer of the commodity after Ivory Coast, Indonesia and Ghana, and third largest exporter after Ivory Coast and Ghana.

Analysts noted that cocoa prices in the international market had risen but that supply would be a major challenge for producers in the coming years due to increasing demand.

The Federal Government, during the last administration, had targeted a yearly increase that would raise production to around 700,000 metric tonnes this year and one million metric tonnes in 2020 by distributing early-maturing, high-yielding and disease-resistant beans that mature in about 18 months to farmers to replace seedlings with four to five years maturity rate.

“We have distributed more than 140 million seedlings of high-yielding cocoa varieties to recapitalise the cocoa plantations, because they are old. That will give us a yield of almost five times. By 2020, Nigeria should be certainly in the one million metric tonnes cocoa production club,” the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, had said in 2014.

The National Vice President, Cocoa Association of Nigeria, Cross River/Akwa Ibom zone, Mr. Godwin Ukwu, said the decline in production was not unconnected with aging trees and illegal mining on cocoa farms.

He said, “The ages of the trees are going down and production is declining, and there is no support from the government in any way to rehabilitate or replant the cocoa and it is affecting production.

“There is a difference between the government trying to do something and doing what it has to do. Last year, a lot of the seedlings did not get to many farmers. The government needs to ensure that its intervention gets to the farmers through monitoring to get the seedlings to the real farmers who need them and not to political farmers.”

According to Ukwu, production also went down in other cocoa producing countries such as Ghana, where the yield dropped from the usual 900,000 to one million metric tonnes to 700,000 metric tonnes.

Ukwu said if something was not done urgently about the production, demand would be more than supply, leading to more pressure on the farmers.

A consultant and Chief Operating Officer, Centre for Cocoa Development Initiative, Mr. Robo Adhuze, said increased rainfall would help production in the current season.

“We are expecting the weather to get better; we are trying to track rainfall across the country; when it begins to rain properly, it will get better. Across board, we are having issues,” he said.

According to Adhuze, despite the fact that cocoa prices are currently soaring in the international market, hovering between $2,900 and $3,000 per metric tonne, production across board is expected to drop in the next few years.

He said, “Prices are soaring in the international market, which is normal, because we are expecting a drop in production in the next four years and consumers are looking for more with the downward production trend.

“The weather and then the demand from East Asian countries such as India and China are also not helping the situation. More people are consuming more cocoa products, but production is going down.”

According to reports, the demand for cocoa is predicted to rise by 30 per cent by 2020, but without empowering and investing in small-scale farmers, the industry will struggle to provide sufficient supply.

A report by The Guardian of the United Kingdom indicated that steady growth over the last 100 years had transformed the chocolate confectionary market into an $80bn a year global industry, but that with demand expected to exceed supply, a crisis was looming for the industry.

The report stated, “Around 3.5 million tonnes of cocoa are produced each year. But rising incomes in emerging markets like India and China, combined with anticipated economic recovery in the rich North, have led to industry forecast of 30 per cent growth in demand to more than 4.5 million tonnes by 2020. This should be good news for farmers and businesses alike.

“But complacency and disregard for the livelihoods of more than five million small-scale family farmers who grow 90 per cent of the world’s cocoa mean that the industry may simply be unable to provide sufficient supply to meet the demand.”

According to Adhuze, the Nigerian situation is compounded by economic factors such as unstable foreign exchange.

“Nigerian cocoa investors are not smiling, as they get the money, they pay more to reinvest,” he said.

The Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Mr. Segun Awolowo, said 2015 was generally not a good year for agricultural production in the country.

According to him, a drop in production will adversely affect the target to increase yield.

“We need to scale up production; the idea is to surpass Ivory Coast and Ghana. Ghana is already at 700,000 metric tonnes, and we are still hovering around 240,000 metric tonnes but the idea was to get to 500,000 metric tonnes in the next few years,” he said.

Punch

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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JUST IN: Abuja to Kaduna Train Service to Resume by December 5

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Lagos-Ibadan Train Services - Investors King

The Federal Government has announced that services along the Abuja–Kaduna rail corridor would resume on Monday, December 5, 2022.

This was disclosed by the Managing Director of Nigeria Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria. 

While speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday, Okhiria noted that all is now set to open the train corridor to passengers. 

He, therefore, advised passengers wishing to utilise the service to commence updating their mobile app from December 3, to enable them to successfully book the ride. 

Investors King earlier reported that the resumption of the Abuja to Kaduna train service will commence last Monday. The resumption was however postponed due to ongoing security work on the trail track as well as coaches. 

It could be recalled that the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo stated during the test run of the train on Sunday that Nigerians without a National Identification Number would not be allowed to board the train.

The Minister added that the government is doing everything to stop a re-occurrence of the event that happened early this year when terrorists attacked Abuja to Kaduna. 

An event that led to the death of no less than nine people while several others were kidnapped. 

Speaking further on the new development, the NRC boss noted that the services will commence with two train rides from Abuja-Kaduna and vice-versa.

Given the train schedule, Okhiria stated that “AK 1 will depart Idu Station at 9:45 am and arrive at Rigasa Station at 11:53 am.

“KA 2 will depart Rigasa at 8:00am and arrive at Idu station at 10:17am.

“AK 3 will depart Idu Station at 3:30pm and arrive at Rigasa Station at 5:38pm.

He added that “KA 4 will depart Rigasa at 2pm and arrive at Idu Station at 4:07pm.

Okhiria noted that the federal government will continue to do all it can to protect both lives and properties on board its train at all times.

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Dominic Pizza Partners 9mobile on Food Service Delivery

The mother brand of Domino Pizza, Eat’N’Go Africa noted that the partnership is a demonstration of the company’s commitment to better serve the Nigerian market.

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Quick Service Restaurant (QSR), Domino Pizza has partnered with mobile telecommunication provider, 9mobile to improve its food service delivery.

The mother brand of Domino Pizza, Eat’N’Go Africa noted that the partnership is a demonstration of the company’s commitment to better serve the Nigerian market.

According to a statement released by the company, the partnership is aimed to increase customer satisfaction and provide quick service delivery to both individuals and retail offices.

Investors King learnt that customers can now easily and swiftly order domino pizza through the newly launched dedicated call center. 

The statement added that the Call Centre service was currently active in all Domino’s branches in Lagos State, with plans underway to activate it in other locations in Nigeria and would provide multi-lingual services.

Speaking at the event, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Eat’N’Go Africa, Mr. Patrick McMichael noted that customers’ orders will henceforth be delivered as much faster as possible. He added that the core responsibility of the company is to attain customer satisfaction through its products and service delivery. 

“As an organization, Eat’N’Go is committed to always being at the forefront of customer satisfaction and by adapting to innovative ways we will keep improving on our service delivery which the call centre avails us,” he said. 

Similarly, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of 9mobile, Juergen Peschel who was present at the event expressed delight and confidence in the prospect of the new partnership. 

He noted that with the new partnership, Eat’N’Go will be able to revolutionise delivery. 

The CEO affirmed that the collaboration shows the extent to which technology can be deployed to ease the way business is done.

Meanwhile, Eat’N’Go Africa is the mother company of a number of trademark products which include Domino Pizza, Cold Stone Creamery, and Pinkberry Gourmet Frozen Yoghurt brands. It is one of the leading Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) in Nigeria. 

The company currently has more than 190 outlets across the country with the goal to reach 250 outlets in 2023. 

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Aero Contractors to Resume Operations After Four Months of Suspension

Aero Contractors called off suspension, to resume operations in the first week of December

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Aero Contractors Airlines

Aero Contractors has disclosed plans to resume flight operations on the 5th of December 2022. The resumption is coming after more than four months of suspension owing to a lack of equipment capacity, foreign exchange scarcity, and other industry challenges.

Investors King could recall that in July 2022, Aero Contractors which is one of the oldest domestic airlines operating in Nigeria announced a voluntary withdrawal of service due to the numerous challenges facing the airline and the industry in general. 

“Due to the impact of the challenging operating environment on our daily operations, the management of Aero Contractors Company of Nig. Ltd. wishes to announce the temporary suspension of its scheduled passenger service operations with effect from Wednesday, July 20, 2022,” a statement issued by the airline in July partly read. 

The airline added that some of its aircraft were undergoing maintenance which made it a more complex situation to cope with the current reality in the aviation industry.

It highlights the high cost of maintenance, fuel, inflation, and forex scarcity resulting in high foreign exchange rates as some of the prevailing challenges which culminated in the suspension of service.

According to sources that are familiar with the new development, flight operations will resume with the Lagos to Abuja route while a check on the airline website showcases a confirmation. 

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has cleared Aero Contractors to resume flight operations. 

The Director General of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu confirms the resumption during a discussion he had with journalists earlier today. 

The DG clarified that the airline was not grounded and that it never had safety issues. Rather, he said the airline was faced with financial challenges which, if not quickly nipped in the bud, may degenerate into safety issues.

“Aero Contractors was not grounded based on safety issues. We did an audit of them…and we found out that the issue they had was financial sustainability,” Capt Nuhu noted.

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