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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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Heirs Oil & Gas Announces CEO and Board Appointments

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Tony Elumelu

Heirs Oil & Gas (HHOG), the leading African integrated energy company, has announced the appointment of Osayande Igiehon as Chief Executive Officer, effective May 4, 2021, together with a distinguished non-executive board, bringing together leading industry figures, with considerable global and regional experience.

Heirs Holdings Limited’s (HH) portfolio company, HHOG, completed the acquisition of OML17 in January 2021, in one of the largest oil and gas financings in Africa in more than a decade, with a financing component of US$1.1 billion. The transaction represents a further implementation of the HH Group strategy of creating the leading integrated energy business in Africa. Through a series of strategic portfolio holdings, HH is executing this strategy. Most recently, affiliate company, Transcorp made a US$300 million acquisition of Afam Power, increasing the Group’s installed electricity generating capacity to 2,000MW.

Mr. Igiehon, who joins from the Royal Dutch Shell (Shell), where he was previously a Vice-President with the Group in the Hague, Netherlands. He brings over twenty-seven years of experience and expertise in the oil and gas sector with Shell, where he held a series of senior management positions. Mr. Igiehon previously served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Shell Gabon, where he led the successful turnaround of the operational, safety and financial performance.

HHOG is also pleased to announce the appointment of the following distinguished private sector and senior industry leaders to the Board:

  • Tony O. Elumelu, CON is the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp), and Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation.
  • Sally Udoma who previously served as general counsel for Chevron Europe, Eurasia, and the Middle East Exploration and Production. Previously, she was general counsel for Sasol Chevron Consulting Limited and managing counsel at the London Legal Service Centre for Chevron Global Upstream and Gas. She has also served as general counsel and general manager for Chevron Nigeria Limited.
  • Anil Dua is a founding partner at Gateway Partners Limited, a private equity fund specialising in dynamic growth markets including Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Prior to this, Mr. Dua worked for over thirty-five years with Standard Chartered Bank in Asia, Africa, Europe and the US, where he held various roles including Regional CEO West Africa and Regional Head of Origination and Client Coverage, Africa.
  • Ahmadu Kida Musa who previously served as Deputy Managing Director of Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited, has over thirty-two years of experience in the Oil and Gas industry and brings considerable expertise in Nigerian oil and gas.
  • Stanley Lawson currently serves on the board of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc. He is Managing Partner at Financial Advisory & Investment Consultants Ltd. Dr Lawson previously occupied the position of Group Executive Director-Finance & Accounts at Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.
  • Samuel Nwanze is the Chief Finance Officer at Heirs Oil and Gas. Prior to this he was the Chief Investment Officer at Heirs Holdings responsible for investment and capital management.

Commenting, Mr. Igiehon stated: “HHOG represents an extraordinary opportunity, to create Africa’s first true integrated energy company, with a mission to ensure that Africa’s natural resources are directed toward value creation in Africa, powered by sustainable, robust and abundant African energy. I am excited to join the Heirs Oil and Gas leadership team and look forward to the opportunity to transform the energy sector, purposefully address Africa’s energy needs and improve the lives of people across Africa.”

The Chairman of the Board, Tony O. Elumelu, CON, stated: “I am delighted to welcome our new board members. We are building a role model institution for African businesses and our investment in human capital is a further strong demonstration of our intent. The regional and global expertise of our board members will serve to further drive value creation to our continent, as we execute our goal of becoming Africa’s largest, indigenous, integrated, energy company.”

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CHI Limited Celebrates Its Maiden Hollandia Dairy Day

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Nigeria’s leading dairy brand, Hollandia, is set to hold the maiden edition of its Hollandia Dairy Day. The event which will be celebrated on the 18th of May 2021 will provide a veritable platform to drive the national discourse on the unrivaled health and nutrition benefits of dairy consumption to people of all ages.

Set to be hosted as a conference, the theme of this year’s event is “Dairy Nourishment to Support Healthy Living”, and it focuses on the vital role dairy consumption plays in our everyday nourishment, its benefit to our overall health, and why dairy products should be included in our diets every day.

This conference, which is designed as a hybrid of the physical and virtual events, will feature presentations, interviews and panel discussions from health experts and nutritionists as they provide insights and share perspectives to guide informed decisions about dairy consumption as part of a daily balanced diet. The event is opened to the public through the brand’s multiple social media platforms.

According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, 2019, Nigeria has low dairy consumption levels per head – 15 to 20 liters per capita consumption. This is partly attributable to the low purchasing power of the average Nigerian household, who rank milk and dairy products as non-essential luxuries and prioritize other staple foods such as rice, beans, and yam.

By provoking the conversations and stimulating public action/intervention, Hollandia aims to drive consciousness for dairy consumption and its importance to achieving optimum health, and to get many more Nigerians drinking, using, and consuming dairy products.

The past year has presented unprecedented shocks and disruptions, including a global COVID-19 pandemic. As communities throughout the world look for ways to minimize the risk of COVID-19, maintaining and boosting good health is top of mind for many. Dairy foods such as milk and yogurt contain essential nutrients, including Vitamins A and D, Zinc and Protein, which support immune function.

The Hollandia Dairy Day Conference is a public interest initiative created to highlight the importance of dairy in everyday nutrition and healthy living in Nigeria.

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Nokia Launches Blockchain-Powered Data Marketplace For Secure Data Trading and AI Models

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Nokia

Nokia today announced the launch of the Nokia Data Marketplace as-a-service to facilitate secure sharing of data and AI models, enabling digital transformation and data monetization for enterprises.

As data volumes continue to surge, AI and machine learning are increasingly crucial in business decision making. Nokia Data Marketplace is designed to help enterprises and communications service providers (CSPs) use data in strategic decision making, by providing real-time access to massive trusted datasets.

The new service also enables enterprises and CSPs to become data marketplace providers themselves, by monetizing data exchanges between customers or business ecosystem participants.

Nokia Data Marketplace ensures trusted data exchange and authorization mechanisms. This enables a wide range of vertical use cases, including electric vehicle charging, environmental data monetization, supply-chain automation and preventative maintenance powering numerous vertical segments, including transportation, ports, energy, smart cities and healthcare.

Friedrich Trawoeger, Vice President, Cloud and Cognitive Services at Nokia, said: “Our customers need secure and trusted access to data for effective business decision making. With Nokia Data Marketplace, enterprises and CSPs can now benefit from richer insights and predictive models to drive digital ways of working and tap into new revenue streams.”

Nokia Data Marketplace accelerates AI initiatives through federated learning. This approach, combined with orchestration capabilities, facilitates the collaborative development of highly accurate machine learning models for analytics use cases. It also meets the growing demand for a platform that can efficiently apply AI and machine learning algorithms to in situ data.

Nokia Data Marketplace complements Nokia Worldwide IoT Network Grid (WING), which offers global IoT connectivity and vertical applications. For example, Nokia WING’s asset tracking solution is enriched by Nokia Data Marketplace’s blockchain to provide secure and automated data exchange and transactions between logistics’ ecosystem partners for faster turnaround.*

Kaladhar Voruganti, Senior Fellow, Office of the CTO at Equinix, said: “Nokia Data Marketplace combined with Equinix data centers allows organizations to share data and algorithms globally at more than 240 metro edge locations. Our Metal platform augments this to provide secure, proximate, on-demand infrastructure to enterprises and government agencies. Sharing and processing of data close to its point of creation mitigate issues related to latency, compliance, and network backhaul cost. These neutral and secure edge locations are connected via high-speed and secure networks to data sources spanning across public clouds, private enterprise data centers and data brokers.”

Wouter van Neerbos, Chief Executive Officer at Marlin, said: “Through automated data exchange among shipping participants, Nokia brings us the transparency and operational efficiency required in our global marine supply chain. This reduces waiting time for shipping participants in the marine ecosystem, enables faster turnaround for ships, and reduces our costs.”

Justin van der Lande, the Principal Analyst at Analysys Mason, said: “Data is the energy needed to run all future business; critical to their success in creating the best AI-based insights and needs access to the largest data sets. Data sharing between enterprise partners is vital in building complete data sets. Facilitating data sharing using a secure platform, such as Nokia’s blockchain-based Data Marketplace, accelerates enterprises’ building of new data sets and creates richer business partnerships for them.”

Nokia is leading the development of security, privacy, and trust mechanisms as part of a consortium that was recently awarded the DEDICAT 6G project by the European Union. Nokia Data Marketplace inclusion in this project focuses on creating an AI and blockchain-enabled security framework and trust management platform for IoT applications running on B5G (Beyond 5G) networks.

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