In order to tackle the prevalent socioeconomic challenges facing the feasibility of the country’s cocoa sector, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Nigerian cocoa farmers with the inclusion of stakeholders, have finalized plans to converge in Abuja this week.
The aim of the second initiative, which is the second edition of the National Cocoa Festival, is to bring back the glory days Nigeria as a leading cocoa-producing country. This will be done by assembling local and global cocoa industry stakeholders to carve out realistic ways to advance the industry in achieving sustainability.
Another initiative the USDA will establish using the opportunity of its Food for Progress Program is its Traceability and Resilience in Agriculture and Cocoa Ecosystems of Nigeria (TRACE) program. This program will be done with Lutheran World Relief as the executing lead organization, and other partners.
Comrade Adeola Adegoke and Nene Akwetey, the national president of the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), and TRACE chief of party, Lutheran World Relief stated in a report that the program will transform the country’s cocoa sector and other stakeholders such as cocoa farmers, buyers, processors, exporters, chocolate makers.
The national president expressed delight at USDA’s efforts in boosting the cocoa industry, especially in Nigeria, saying it is a great opportunity to grow a cash crop that brings about foreign exchange for Nigeria. He further went on to say “The support, collaboration, and execution of the TRACE project over the next five years will go a long way to help Nigeria achieve its goal to surpass other cocoa-origin countries.
There is a significant need for collective action to upscale Nigerian cocoa’s sustainable production in order to meet demand, which includes improving its traceability. This effort to upscale production also requires robust support for the growers that produce the cacao to boost their productivity as well as their income through sustainable livelihood activities, such as further processing and packaging their cocoa for local consumption.”