The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mahmood Abubakar, on Tuesday, announced that the Federal Government was set to boost cocoa export through the implementation of research findings in the newly developed training manuals on cocoa production.
Receiving the two manuals from Cocoasoil Group in his office in Abuja, the minister explained that hindrances to the optimum production of cocoa in Nigeria were captured in the documents.
Abubakar said the Federal Government would meticulously implement various recommendations in the manuals, stressing that this would definitely impact on cocoa exports from Nigeria.
He said, “A lot has gone into the production of these manuals. It is a result of articulated research by experts, meaning they have gone under, about and above to find out why cocoa production is not at its best in Nigeria.
“And I’m sure that they have found out and now by removing all the hurdles, you will naturally start having increased yields, reduction in post-harvest losses and improved seeds.”
Asked whether cocoa exports from Nigeria would resume in full going by findings contained in the manual, the minister replied, “Definitely. This is because the manual has brought out things that were causing hindrances.
“With this, we will know what to avoid, as the pitfalls must have been discovered during the period of research so that we can be just as good as any other country. In fact, Nigeria should be the best cocoa producing country in the world.
“I think now is time for us to start exporting not just the raw cocoa but its powder so that we will increase the value chain and income for farmers.”
On the timeframe for the increased exports of cocoa, the minister said it would happen very soon, stressing that efforts were in top gear to realise this.
Abubakar said, “It will be very soon. I can’t give you precisely that it will be in a month or so, but there are things that are coming up that will rhyme with this, for example, the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone.
“We have seen what other countries have done in those kind of industrial parks. You can have the farmers bring in the raw materials being processed and exported from there. “