Trade and Investment - Nigeria’s earnings from global cocoa export have steadily increased from US$882.9 million recorded in 2011 to US$900 million last year, according to Trade and Investment Minister Olusegun Aganga.
The private Guardian newspaper reported Monday that the minister gave the export figures during a one-day national workshop on capacity building in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
“As a major producer, our primary goal is to secure a sustainable market for our cocoa and cocoa products. To achieve this desire, the quality of our cocoa and cocoa products is of paramount importance. Along this is our effort to protect food safety and the threats of pesticides and contaminants to human health,” the minister was quoted as saying.
According to him, cocoa is the second largest foreign exchange earner after crude oil, and the industry generates over two million jobs directly and indirectly along its value chain.
Just as the market for cocoa increases at an average of three per cent a year, the nation’s export of the commodity has equally been growing at an average of 40 per cent yearly.
But the local consumption of cocoa is barely three per cent, while the bulk of what is produced is exported.
The minister said it is imperative for the country not only to increase its yield but most importantly ensure its acceptance in the international market.
He said this can be achieved by total compliance with the international standard and by minimising the harmful effect of pesticide residues in the crop, which is far becoming a health issue around the globe.
Also speaking at the workshop, the executive director of International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO), Mr. Jean-Marc Anga, said users of cocoa products had continually raised issues relating to quality, traceability and integrity of the beans along the supply chain.
Other issues include food safety concern, environmental concerns, social ethics, sustainability of cocoa production, social and economic welfare of the cocoa farmers.
Nigeria is the world’s fourth largest producer and exporter of cocoa.