In a significant move towards revitalizing Nigeria’s cocoa industry, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), in collaboration with local stakeholders and Nigerian cocoa farmers, is set to convene in Abuja for the second edition of the National Cocoa Festival. The goal is to tackle critical socioeconomic challenges that have been hindering the industry’s sustainability.
This gathering will bring together a diverse range of local and international cocoa industry experts to devise practical strategies that can propel the sector towards sustainability. The aspiration is to restore Nigeria’s position as a leading cocoa-producing country, a status it held in the 1960s.
The USDA, through its Food for Progress Program, will also unveil the Traceability and Resilience in Agriculture and Cocoa Ecosystems of Nigeria (TRACE) project. This initiative, led by the implementing organization Lutheran World Relief in collaboration with other partners, is poised to be a transformative force for Nigeria’s cocoa industry. It aims to benefit cocoa farmers, buyers, processors, exporters, chocolate makers, and other stakeholders.
Comrade Adeola Adegoke, the National President of the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), expressed enthusiasm for the USDA’s commitment to promoting cocoa production in Nigeria. He noted that this endeavor presents a valuable opportunity to boost a commodity that significantly contributes to the nation’s foreign exchange.
Adegoke highlighted the importance of collective action to enhance sustainable cocoa production in Nigeria, particularly in meeting growing demand and improving traceability. He emphasized that supporting cocoa growers is crucial for increasing productivity and income. This involves empowering them through sustainable activities, including processing and packaging their cocoa for local consumption.