Nigerian Cocoa Farmers Demand New Regulatory Board For Industry Development

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News in brief: Nigerian cocoa farmers are demanding a new regulatory board for industry development, and that will avoid issues of the previous board.

Cocoa farmers in Nigeria have demanded a new regulatory board focused on industry development. The farmers, organised under the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), have criticised corruption and instances of personal enrichment among those responsible for regulation.

As stated by the association in a release to a local media outlet, they are calling for the establishment of a board that would avoid price fixing, aiming to eliminate occurrences of personal enrichment and duplication of roles, which were responsible for dissolving the previous commodity board.

The organisation has appealed to oversight authorities to ensure their interests are addressed.

Deola Adegoke, the national president of the association, stated that the new regulatory board should focus on industry development throughout the supply chain in a sustainable manner. He emphasised this given the current challenges in the sector and in anticipation of complying with the European Union’s regulation to ban cocoa beans sourced through unsustainable means by 2025.

Adegoke further noted that due to the negative paradigm shift experienced across all industry sectors after dissolving the former commodity board, it has become imperative to reiterate and clarify the farmers’ position regarding its reintroduction.

He explained that the price stabilisation policy led to the downfall of the previous board, resulting in its eventual cancellation, which caused issues in production, productivity, quality, livelihood, global agricultural practices, research, and development, among others.

The CFAN president expressed his concern about the industry’s current state and expressed hopes for the reintroduction of an efficient cocoa board. However, the success of the new board will be evaluated based on its impact on cocoa bean production, productivity, and quality, similar to the industry board of the ’60s and early ’70s.

In the 1970s, Nigeria ranked as the world’s second-largest cocoa producer, yet overreliance on oil caused a decline in its production share. It dropped to fourth in production and third in exporting, although it remains the country’s primary agricultural export.

Adegoke’s sentiment parallels that of Alhaji Adeyemi Murthada, expressed during the 2023 Zenith Bank Non-oil Seminar. Murthada, a significant cocoa farmer and exporter, cautioned that establishing a new board to oversee the industry is complex. He stated it would succeed only if the focus is on enhancing production, productivity, and quality, while avoiding price fixing.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.

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