Nigerian cocoa farmers under the aegis of Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria, CFAN, have threatened to embark on a nationwide protest over substandard inputs and declining productivity.
The association blames Federal Government for alleged Substandard agro-input in the sector.
The National Executive Council of the Association alleges that Federal Government procured substandard agro inputs for the sector.
The association, after a meeting in Akure, Ondo state, says the development hampers productivity and is causing a decline in profits. It says the development negates the Federal Government’s vision to develop the cocoa sector now that the price of the commodity is soaring at the international market.
“Almost a quarter of Nigeria cocoa plantations were destroyed by fire during last year’s dry season without any support from the Federal Government, despite our complaints. CFAN appeals to Buhari to intervene urgently to save the livelihood and future of cocoa farmers, considering the diversification campaign of the present administration.”
Cocoa beans are a high demand consumer item all over the world and an important cash crop in Nigeria.
Nigeria is currently acclaimed the world’s fourth-largest producer of cocoa, after Ivory Coast, Indonesia, and Ghana; and the third largest exporter after Ivory Coast and Ghana.
Farmers face challenges that make it difficult for them to realize the true potential of their business. The fragile nature of cocoa tree makes it vulnerable to pests and diseases. Consequently, farmers lose over 30% of cocoa production, limiting profit expectations. In addition, production reduced last year due to drought and fire outbreak. Cocoa producers still get a little premium on their produce.
The proposed national strike would further deter the Federal Government’s ambition to optimally revitalize the country’s agricultural sector.