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.
FG Starts Registration, Categorization For Nigerian Fish Farmers
The Federal Government of Nigeria, in its bid to solve the food crisis in the country, has kick-started the registration and categorization of all fish farms across the country. This move is also aimed at fighting the country’s economic challenges and encouraging export, inspection, data collection and record-keeping.
Investors King gathered that the Federal Department of Fisheries & Aquaculture, alongside states of the federation will commence the operation in the coming weeks.
This development was disclosed at the end of a capacity-building training for fisheries officers and stakeholders involved in fish farming, processing and export recently.
During the training which was organized by the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC), participants urged the Federal Department of Fishery to hasten the completion and perfection of the Aquaculture Residue Monitoring Plan for approval, in order to enable the export of farmed fish into the European Union and other countries.
In the same vein, the Norwegian Customs has said that Nigerians can now export fish to Norway without duties. However, the products must be of standard quality.
“Exporters of Nigerian farmed fishes can only enjoy the zero duty rate the moment the ban on such fishes is lifted by the European Union”, the Customs said.
Meanwhile, the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) has expressed concerns over the absence of off-takers for fishery farmers in Nigeria. The bank said the situation is affecting the Bank’s ability to intervene in the aquaculture Anchor Borrowers’ initiative.
At the training, an official of the Development Finance Department, CBN, Mr. Samson Alatise said that the CBN is set to support the growth of the fishery sector in Nigeria “if there are the willing anchors that will take up the farmed fishes from the farmers.”
Alatise stated that there is a committee set up by the federal government to checkmate the activities of the sector in the absence of an undertaker. He also said that the “development is limiting the Bank’s participation in funding the aquaculture of ‘Cat’ and ‘Tilapia’ fishes.
‘‘We are keen on funding aquaculture; the issue is that there is no viable anchor and this has limited the CBN’s participation in terms of growing the fishery sector.
“The CBN wants to see how it can be assisted to overcome the issue of non-availability of anchor,” Alatise added.
Walmart, Amazon, Apple, Others Top 2022 Fortune 500 List
Walmart took the top spot for the tenth year in a row, generating $5.1 trillion cumulative revenue over that time
Fortune Magazine has released the 68th edition of their annual list of the top 500 US companies with Walmart, Amazon, and Apple topping the list.
Fortune 500 list is an annual list of the top 500 largest companies in the United States, ranked based on the total revenue each of the companies generated in their respective fiscal years. It is compiled by Fortune Magazine.
A check by Investors King shows 2022 top 500 largest companies in the United States earned a combined $16.1 trillion in revenue and realised $1.8 trillion in profits. Indicating that the 2021 revenue grew by $6.4 billion, or 19% when compared to 2021 numbers.
Breaking down this year’s list, Walmart took the top spot for the tenth year in a row, generating $5.1 trillion cumulative revenue over that time. Amazon.com came second with a 22% increase in revenue in 2021 to cross the $450 billion threshold.
Apple, perhaps the most profitable company on the list for the eighth time in eight years, generated profits of $95 billion to sit in the number three position.
CVS Health and CEO Karen Lynch strive to produce Fortune 500 history as the highest-ranking firm ever led by a female CEO, at number 4.
UnitedHealth Group maintained its position as USA’s largest health insurance provider, with considerable growth in 2021. The corporation served 2.2 million more individuals this year than the previous year, and revenue increased by 12% to $287 billion, making it claim the 5th spot.
Exxon Mobil has risen from 10th to 6th place on the Fortune 500 after a difficult, pandemic-affected 2020. After COVID-related limitations drove energy consumption and oil and gas prices to plunge, Exxon Mobil trimmed costs to shore up its balance sheet, laying off 9,000 employees. These measures, combined with a resurgence in oil prices, let the business earn more than $23 billion in 2021, its highest annual profit in seven years.
Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway generated the second-largest profits among Fortune 500 firms last year, with $90 billion in net income. Its stock also soared, returning 23.2 percent in 2021, putting it in the 7th position.
Alphabet had a spectacular record, reaching $200 billion in sales for the first time. Alphabet was the best-performing Big Tech stock in 2021, with shares up nearly three times the Nasdaq’s 22 percent gain. It also put aside $50 billion for share repurchases and announced a 20-to-1 stock split to stimulate more investment. With steady growth in revenue and profit from 2006, Alphabet took the 8th spot.
Mckesson, one of the largest drug distributors in the country ranked 9th with a clear revenue of $238,228 million in the 2021 fiscal year despite a $4.5 billion loss.
Despite a fall in this year’s ranking, AmerisourceBergen increased its revenue by 12.7%, to $214 billion for the 2021 fiscal year. The company ranked 10th, following its counterpart, Mckesson.
2022 Top 10 Fortune 500 List
- CVS Health
- United Health Group
- Exxon Mobil
- Berkshire Hathaway
Kaduna Airport Finally Resumes Operation, Azman Air Becomes First Airline to Reopen
After it suspended all flight operations for almost two months, the Kaduna Airport has finally resumed its flight operations, starting with Azman Air.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) announced that the Kaduna airport has commenced full flight operations after it was shut down due to an attack by gunmen.
The acting General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Faithful Hope-Ivbaze, confirmed to newsmen on Monday that “Flight operations to Kaduna airport have commenced today with Azman Air.”
Investors King gathered that Azman Air, via its official Twitter account, announced the resumption of flights to the Kaduna airport, making it the first airline to resume operations.
The tweet reads: “Azman Air landed at Kaduna Airport today 23rd May 2022, to the elation and cheers of passengers, stakeholders, and staff.
“Azman Air is the first Airline to resume operations in the Kaduna Airport after it has been closed for almost two months.
“It was a defining moment for the aviation community as the airport is reopened after being closed for two months. It’s so exciting to be back!”
The airport manager, Aminat Salami, said: “As you can see, I have all my management staff here. We have been closed from the 26th of March, close to two months and I’m very sure and you can see we are all excited and happy and I’m praying that Azman will continue their operations successfully and they should not be discouraged by the first flight because people are not really aware”.
“We will try to do more of the video advert so that the passengers would improve as time goes on,” she added.
Recall that in March, it was reported that gunmen attacked the airport and killed a security guard while the Kaduna-Abuja train was also attacked on the same day.
The airline had stopped its flight operations into Kaduna following the attack at the airport eight weeks ago.
The attack was however repelled by the airport security operatives.
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