The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to increasing cocoa production to 500,000 tonnes yearly with a view to making it contribute more to the country’s earnings.
The Trade Promotion Advisor, NEPC Ekiti Export Assistance Office, Mrs Iyabode Abe, said the Federal Government was unrelenting in the bid to ensure cocoa export contributed more to Nigeria’s earnings.
Abe spoke in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, during a technical intervention programme targeted at boosting cocoa production for export with the theme, “Improving cocoa production in Ekiti State for global competitiveness’, organised by NEPC where the council distributed 3,000 hybrid cocoa seedlings to select 60 farmers in Ekiti State.
“During the first quarter of this year, according to the foreign trade report released by the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria exported superior quality cocoa beans valued at N72.59 billion.”
“It was learnt that Nigeria exports about 340,000 tonnes of cocoa yearly, meaning that the country is to earn an additional $136m outside the actual cost of the commodity once it perfects the process required to achieve this.”
“At the moment, Nigeria’s cocoa production is estimated at 340,000 tonnes. Nevertheless, the Federal Government has declared that it is committed to increasing Nigeria’s cocoa production from 340,000 tonnes to 500,000 tonnes yearly by 2024,” she said.
Abe lauded the efforts of the NEPC Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ezra Yakusak, in line with the diversification efforts of ‘Zero Oil Plan’ cum ‘One State One-Product’.
“Nigeria’s cocoa exports appear set to contribute more to the country’s non-all revenues as stability in the global market continued to support the growth of its exports,” she said.
Distributing the seedlings, she said, “This is another milestone in boosting the morale of our cocoa farmers in the selected Local Government areas (Ikere, Ise and Emure) to improve on the quality and quantity of cocoa production in Ekiti State”.
The Chairman, All Farmers Association in Nigeria, Ekiti State, Adebola Alagbada, encouraged the farmers to make the best use of NEPC’s gesture to better their production and participation in the export market.
“Cocoa is now number one revenue earning to Nigeria and as well boosting the country’s gross domestic product,” he said.