Ibekimi Oriamaja Reports.
The Federal Government announced on Tuesday that cocoa farmers, like their counterparts in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, will benefit from a Living Income Differential (LID) of $400 per tonne.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, announced this during a keynote address at the inauguration of the 11-member National Cocoa Management Committee, NCMC, at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
Abubakar tasked the newly inaugurated NCMC, as part of its terms of reference, with developing an urgent draft charter for the NCMC’s operations, which will allow an Executive Bill to be forwarded to the National Assembly for legal backing.
He explained that the inauguration is the result of enormous collective efforts, including a recent visit by some officials from his Ministry to Ghana, one of the world’s largest cocoa producing and exporting countries, to study the implementation of the Living Income Differential, or LID.
We will increase the value of cocoa production in Nigeria and around the world — the organization promises.
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According to him, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire implemented the Living Income Differential, or LID, as a premium on their cocoa and a tool to supplement their cocoa prices in the international market.
He stated that Nigeria cannot wait to join Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, and that this committee is being formed to work out the details for Nigerian cocoa farmers to begin benefiting from this initiative like their counterparts in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
Cocoa farmers in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire will benefit from a Living Income Differential (LID) of $400 per tonne.
This was revealed by Dr Mohammad Abubakar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, during a keynote address at the inauguration of the 11-member National Cocoa Management Committee, NCMC, at the Ministry’s headquarters.
The Minister did, however, highlight challenges in the cocoa industry that the Committee is expected to address, such as pests and diseases, logistics such as rural roads and infrastructure, old Cocoa plantations, ageing Cocoa farmers, processing, access to finance, environmental concerns such as deforestation and climate change, and the lack of a National Coordinating body.
The Committee is comprised of the following members: Chairman, ENGR Adbullahi Garba ABUBAKAR, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Abuja; Secretary, Dr Patrick Adebola, Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, CRIN, Ibadan; Member, Olutobaba Ajayi, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; Member, Ibrahim Mohammed, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; Member, S.O. G Tuayeringha, Federal Ministry of Industry
“The goal is to increase the share benefits received by cocoa farmers in these countries,” he explained.
“The NCMC shall develop a framework for the regulation and monitoring of cocoa sector activities in order to increase transparency in the industry.”
“The NCMC will develop a strategic plan to establish a Nigerian Cocoa Board.”
“As an important regulatory body in the Nigerian cocoa sector, the NCMC shall expand its activities to include all cocoa producing states.”
“The NCMC shall organize and conduct a national conference (of) for Commissioners of Agriculture from 36 states and the FCT to sensitize them on the importance of LID and the Federal Government’s efforts to ensure that our small-holder cocoa farmers, like Ghana and Cote ‘Ivoire, benefit from it.”
“The NCMC shall develop the National Cocoa Management Committee’s strategic implementation plan for local, state, and federal governments.”
“The NCMC shall develop a Nigerian charter in preparation for participation in the Ghana/Cote d’Ivoire initiative.”
“The NCMC shall establish a data bank for all multinational corporations and cocoa bean exporters from Nigerian ports.”
“One of your immediate tasks is to prepare an urgent draft charter for the operations of the NCMC, which will allow an Executive Bill to be forwarded to the National Assembly for legal backing in order to meet the demand of joining the Ghana/Cote d’Ivoire initiative to deliver Living Income Differential (LID) of $400/tonne, which will improve the livelihood of our small holder Cocoa farmers in the Country.”
Earlier, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, described the task before the committee as enormous, citing a litany of problems plaguing the cocoa industry over the years.
“The expectations from this committee are enormous,” Umakhihe said. Given the nominees’ experience and competence, this Ministry anticipates robust and actionable recommendations that, if implemented, will not only increase the productivity of cocoa farmers but will also improve the quality and value addition to the Nigerian cocoa sector.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Committee, Engr Abdullahi Abubakar, who also serves as Director of the Federal Department of Agriculture, FDA, stated that the Committee will begin its work immediately, beginning with the creation of a Nigerian Cocoa Charter, which will be required to join the Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire Initiative.
He also stated that the leadership of the Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire Initiative will review the Committee’s work by September 2022, and that the entire month of August will be dedicated to ensuring the Nigeria Cocoa Charter is ready.
“We’re attempting to resurrect the Cocoa Board.” We used to have them back then, but due to certain practices, they are no longer in existence.
“We need the National Assembly’s blessing for it to be established.”
“The Cocoa Board is in charge of overseeing the production, processing, and marketing of cocoa in this country and for export.”
“So the Living Income Differential, LID, that our farmers will receive cannot be done without a board,” he explained.
He also stated that the Bill is important to cocoa farmers and requested that when it is received, the National Assembly pass it into law.
He also stated that there will be value addition in terms of processing, and that the Ministry will support the cocoa value chain from start to finish, eliminating the need to export raw cocoa to the international market.
Despite the fact that Nigeria is the world’s fifth largest cocoa exporter, he claims that farmers are not getting a fair price for their output because they export raw cocoa.
He also stated that cocoa farmers will be educated on best cocoa practices, and that more will join in.
He also stated that as most cocoa trees age, research institutes will be formed to develop the best breeds and seeds to boost cocoa production over the next three years.
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