About 12 million dollars is to be invested in the regional Nigerian Cocoa Processing Business by Norwegian Investment Fund (Norfund). The goal of the investment is to address the issues of cocoa distribution network.
OH Ecosystems which facilitated the funds bought a substantial share of FTN Cocoa Processors Plc. The funds will advance FTN’s operating infrastructure and widen its reach to create and sell extra goods into the cocoa distribution network.
FTN converts cocoa beans into finished goods i.e. (cocoa liquor, butter, and powder) for worldwide and regional customers with its 20,000 metric tons of infrastructure. Before this business deal, FTN had been inactive and underused for many years.
Mr. Obafemi Awobukun who is the Investment Manager at Norfund said: “Increasing the share of raw materials that are processed locally can create a large number of jobs that give the fast-growing population of Nigeria the opportunity to work their way out of poverty, and we are confident that this investment can contribute to this.”
Nathaniel Durant who is the Managing director of OH Ecosystems said: “We are thankful for Norfund’s partnership as we focus on building out value-add production in Nigeria. Having partners who are aligned over the long term on both the financial and social impact of our work is extremely important. Together, we can contribute to Nigeria’s agricultural manufacturing with a focus on financial sustainability for farmers in the value chain.”
The managing director Mr. Akin Laoye of FTN Cocoa said that the well thought union will help FTN tidy up its pursuit of transforming cocoa beans, creating employment opportunities, donating its own quota to government plans in economic change, providing benefits for investors and bringing to life the innovation of competing on an international level.
He further said the Norfund’s funds will add towards the Federal Government’s plan to establish practical job opportunities for 600 persons and nonpractical job opportunities for 1500 persons across the distribution network for the cocoa industry. The deal will further add to the country’s government’s ability to change its dependence on oil and gas revenue by creating various export proceeds.
Naana Fynn, Norfund’s regional director for West Africa believes that the cocoa industry is key for Nigeria and West Africa and could be paramount in creating another stream of export revenue for the country. He stated that “By partnering with this management team which has deep sector experience in West Africa, a strong technical partner, local investors, and current owners, we aim to contribute positively to this effort.
“This investment also presents us the opportunity to partner with these stakeholders to increase local processing of cocoa beans and thus capture more of the value chain dollars at origin, to create jobs and to positively impact the fight against child and forced labour and deforestation in this important value chain.”