The Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment has finalised plans to implement the 10-year National Cocoa Plan 2013-2032. The plan is a comprehensive and ambitious roadmap for the sustainable development of the cocoa sector in Nigeria which aims to increase productivity, improve quality, and diversify the industry to generate additional income for farmers and boost overall economic growth.
The project has received the support of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), which recognizes the importance of a sustainable cocoa economy for the country. The FEC believes that the plan will help to boost production and industrialization, contributing significantly to the gross domestic product (GDP).
Evelyn Ngige,permanent secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, made the disclosure at a one-day stakeholders’ forum on the implementation of the 10-year national cocoa plan 2023, held in Abuja.
She emphasised that the project is expected to trigger increased domestic consumption, farm-gate prosperity, youth engagement, and higher foreign exchange earnings from the export of consistently superior-quality cocoa beans and cocoa products.
According to Ngige, cocoa is one of Nigeria’s primary non-oil export earning commodities, providing income to federal and state governments, and millions of farmers in the main cocoa producing communities and other stakeholders across the cocoa value chain.
Ngige added that the proper implementation of this plan will have a positive impact on the cocoa sector, with the inclusion of cocoa products in the food and health programs of the federal, state, and local governments. She also pointed out that the promotion of the health benefits and nutritional value of cocoa will drive demand for cocoa powder and increase its consumption.
The plan also focuses on research and development, including the development of new varieties of cocoa beans, improved seedlings, post-harvest technologies, and market-driven research.
Ngige stated that the plan would encourage the establishment of companies that produce fine-flavor chocolate, boost revenue and employment, as well as encourage spin-off benefits, and increase investment and capacity utilization in cocoa processing as a result of increasing domestic consumption. The goal is to increase the current 2 per cent cocoa consumption rate to a minimum of 20-25 per cent.
She added that the National Cocoa Plan when fully implemented will project the annual cocoa production from the current metric tons to 714,000 metric tons in 2027/2028 cocoa season.
Ngige explained that this plan was developed in accordance with the four strategic pillars of the Global Cocoa Agenda: sustainable cocoa production, sustainable cocoa industry, sustainable cocoa consumption, and strategic management.