Stakeholders have unveiled alarming revelations about Nigeria’s untapped potential in the global cocoa industry, signaling an annual loss exceeding $2 billion.
However, the primary culprits identified include underexplored value chain opportunities, inadequate funding, and a lack of structured policies to attract investments.
These were part of the communiqué, of the International Cocoa and Chocolate Forum (ICCF
2024 – Nigeria), jointly signed by HRM Oba Dokun Thompson, Dr. Patrick Adebola, and Mr. Abba Bello, underscoring the country’s processing capacity of 200,000 metric tonnes, operating at a mere 30% due to structural deficiencies. The sector’s decline is attributed to the absence of proper funding, making manufacturing unattractive and hindering competitiveness with imported products.
The stakeholders stress the need for a significant overhaul, pointing out that a meager N100 billion from the N900 billion 2024 Agric Budget is insufficient. They emphasize the urgency of recalibrating government policies to bridge gaps, provide essential infrastructure, and ensure the agricultural sector’s alignment with global standards.
Highlighting the dominance of a few global players in the cocoa sector, creating an oligopolistic market, the stakeholders call for de-commoditising cocoa as a crucial step towards value addition. The looming European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) policy, effective from January 1, 2025, poses a threat to Nigeria’s cocoa supply chain and forex earnings, necessitating immediate awareness and compliance measures.
To transform Nigeria into a cocoa-consuming nation, stakeholders propose intentional consumption of cocoa products, including cocoa derivatives, in school feeding programs. A collaborative effort with the private sector is urged to establish a cocoa development fund, fostering self-sustainability and incentivizing youth involvement.
The stakeholders advocate for improved funding for the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), introducing technology and innovation, and implementing policies discouraging raw cocoa export to protect local players and enhance value addition at the origin. The recommendations seek to position Nigeria as a competitive force in the global cocoa market.