In preparation for the coming year, Comrade Adeola Adegoke, National President, Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) has condemned any form of deforestation and child labor practices in the sourcing and production of cocoa in the country.
According to him, Nigerian farmers must put in place regulations and ensure
compliance with international standards of cocoa production to achieve transparency and future trading demands.
The president advised during an exclusive interview with AgroNigeria.
In his words: “The EUR is demanding compliance as far as the international acceptance of our cocoa beans is concerned, especially looking at
our future trading and 2025 deadline which calls for the demand for traceability and transparency in our supply chain.
“Issues like deforestation and child labor in cocoa sourcing and production have been brought to the fore and these issues must be jointly tackled by all cocoa stakeholders if we do not want to lose the huge market opportunity EU provided us a cocoa origin country and in as much EU remains the largest buyer of cocoa beans at the international market.
“We must put in place a regulatory framework that we promote and supply the growth of the sector without delving into buying and selling of the cocoa beans.
“The regulatory structure must enhance quality assurance and monitor the establishment and management of the National traceability standards that w
ill guarantee steady investments and sustainability of the sector.
Speaking further he said that to ensure deforestation and child labour-free in the cocoa industry, farmers and other stakeholders must embark on a National traceability project that would determine the geographical location and production chain to shipment of cocoa abroad.
“This must not be tainted with child labor activity or the cocoa beans produced in deforested areas. Efforts must be intensified to capture our pre and post-harvest activities to conform with international best practices.”, he added.
He noted that in 2024, adequate support must be given to smallholder cocoa farmers to boost production and give better livelihood to them.
He said: “ We can only earn more revenue from cocoa production if we increase our productivity per hectare through good variety that will give us 2 to 3 tons per hectare and overall increase Nigeria production to 500,000 MTS before the end of 2024/25 cocoa season.”