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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

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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FG Introduces NEXIT Portal for Npower Batch A and B Beneficiaries

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The Federal Government has introduced a new online portal for exited Npower beneficiaries of batch A and B.

According to the Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouq, the portal was launched in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to enable exited Npower beneficiaries apply for available federal government empowerment options.

This was disclosed in a statement issued by Nneka Anibeze, the media aide to the minister, on Friday.

The ministry said the NEXIT portal will be used to determine the suitability of exited beneficiaries for various CBN-affiliated programmes.

She explained that selection will be based on the conditions and criteria set by the apex bank.

Ms Farouq, therefore, urged interested exited Npower beneficiaries to log on to the NEXIT portal and provide the required additional information for possible placements into central bank’s intervention options.

The Minister expressed her deep appreciation to the CBN Governor Mr Godwin Emefiele CON for his support adding that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs remained committed to the vision of Mr President to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.

“Minister Umar Farouq pledged the Ministry’s willingness to collaborate with relevant agencies of government and other stakeholders towards the realization of that vision and congratulated the exited beneficiaries while wishing them well in their future endeavours.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria is very proud of the milestones you have achieved during your period of service to the nation. As we prepare to exit into prospective endeavours.”

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Ellah Lakes Partner Ondo State Government to Develop Oil Palm, Cassava in the State

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The management of Ellah Lakes Plc said it has partnered with Ondo State Government to develop and manage 5000 hectares of land for the purpose of cultivating oil palm and cassava in Ondo State, Nigeria.

The company stated in a statement signed by Kenechi Ezezika, Company Secretary, Ellah Lakes Plc.

Speaking on the development, the Chief Executive Officer, Chuka Mordi said: “This is a significant landmark for the Company in the development of our landbank, & we are very excited to be working with ODSG.

I am delighted that we are fulfilling our strategic objective of progressively expanding our land bank & diversifying our portfolio and production base. I am also glad to say that the intercropping programme in Edo State is progressing steadily & we have achieved our first milestone of 100Hectares of Cassava with the participation of personnel of the Agricultural Development Program (ADP), in Edo State”.

The Special Adviser on Development & Investment to the Ondo State Governor/ Chief Executive Officer of Ondo State Development and Investment Promotion Agency (ONDIPA), Mr. Akinboye Oyewumi, who also spoke on the development said: “We are pleased with this collaboration with Ellah Lakes Plc., and we look forward to a mutually beneficial, valuable and fruitful venture.”

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Unilever Nigeria Appoints Mr Jaime Aguilera as a Non-Executive Director

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Unilever Nigeria Plc

Unilever Nigeria Plc announced it has appointed Mr. Jaime Aguilera as a Non-Executive Director of the company effective from January 2021.

The company stated in a statement filed with the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Mr Jaime Aguilera worked with Coca-cola, Nestle and Procter & Gamble before joining Unilever as Executive Vice President Unilever Eastern Europe in September 2016.

Therefore, his experience spans from Europe, Americas and Asia.

His key expertise areas are “in Sales & Marketing and he has lead teams in Spain, Brazil, South Eastern Europe, Middle East, Mexico and Global teams.

“In 2009, he joined Unilever Spain as EVP & Chairman and then moved to his current role as Unilever Executive Vice President Africa, leading the Unilever business in Africa. Jaime is of Spanish origin and is an alumnus of the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas- ICADE. Jaime majored in Economic Sciences, Management & Business Administration.”

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