As part of measures to strengthen the cocoa supply chains, the National President, Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria, CFAN, Comrade Adeola Adegoke has said farmers will start selling traceable, deforestation-free cocoa beans at premium value, while unveiling the Farmers Agro Investment Limited cocoa store and center in Akure, Ondo state.
Specifically speaking at the unveiling ceremony on Tuesday, in Owode, the National president said the cocoa store and center was established for the service of smallholder cocoa farmers, deliberate intervention to strengthen the cocoa supply chains through collaborations, sustainable and ethical practices in the face of EU regulations on due diligence.
The president, who doubles as the CEO, Farmers Agro Investment Limited said the plan was to pursue the culture of transparent market that puts the livelihood, environment and encourage local consumption as a catalyst to boost local value addition market and forex.
In his words: “The Cocoa Store and Centre would create opportunity for our smallholder cocoa farmers to have better income for their cocoa beans through our responsibly sourcing, generate more revenues for our States /Federal Governments and Nigerians of diverse ethnic group who crave for the consumption of the cocoa byproducts e.g chocolate, cocoa powder and other products made in Nigeria and Ondo State in particular will be sold or ordered online directly from the Centre without any problem .
“The Cocoa Store would offer our cocoa farmers to sell traceable, deforestation-free cocoa beans at premium value. The store will provide us the opportunity not only to showcase and promote Nigerian made cocoa byproducts from different companies; like cocoa wine, powder, cream, chocolate, soap, sweets, organic fertilizers etc.
“We will work for the promotion and enhancement of the consumption of cocoa by-products through an aggressive enlightenment of the public on the health benefits of cocoa consumption.
“We will support the emergence of cocoaprenuers that will innovate new sources of using cocoa materials to drive new consumption markets in Nigeria.
“We will also provide an opportunity for our people home and abroad to know more about the health benefits of cocoa byproducts consumption by collaborating with the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria on how to deepen our local value addition through creativity and innovation.
“You will find any varieties or species of cocoa beans, seedlings or byproducts made of cocoa in Nigeria or abroad here in the next few weeks by the special grace of God. These cocoa beans grown in all the cocoa producing States in Nigeria and o&ther cocoa origin countries will be packaged in 1 to 10 kg for your up taking at the Centre while the big volume cocoa beans demand will be undertaken at the Cocoa Store accordingly.
According to him, CFAN in collaboration with the farmers Agro investment limited would intervene in the aggregation, supply and sourcing of cocoa beans of finest quality based particularly in the production sub-sector of the cocoa industry in Nigeria.
He added that due to the experience garnered over the years and passion for the sustainability of the sector propelled, the launching of the Agro investment limited was necessary in order to transform cocoa production sub sector that does not guarantee overall fulfillment and sustainability but to an industry that would eventually pave way to the vision of achieving 50% local processing of cocoa bean in Nigeria as against 90% exports of raw cocoa bean, as this exportation does not support the growth of the Nigerian economy.
Meanwhile, the CEO appreciated all the financial partners who provided tremendous financial support, including the CEO of Kolleti Cocoa; Mr. Jeffrey Apogbon. President of CAN, Mr. Abolarinwa, the CEO of Gbemtan Industries limited, all National Executives Council of CFAN, HE, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, former Governor of Ondo State, and the incumbent Executive Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Odunayo Akeredolu.