The Federal Government has set a new target to beat Ghana and Ivory Coast in terms of cocoa exports from the country.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, stated at the weekend during a meeting with officials of Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) in Abuja that the ministry has already developed new cocoa breeds capable of beating the two nations.
The Minister, who said oil and gas cannot create 1 million jobs for unemployed Nigerians, disclosed that the agriculture sector could engage about 20 million people, across the entire agricultural value chain.
He wondered why the country still lacks behind the two African nations, despite enormous potentials to grow the economy crop in 23 states across the nation.
“Nigeria needs to surpass Ghana and Ivory Coast. Ivory Coast is targeting 2 million tons now. Ghanah is a bit lower than a million, we are battling at 250, 000 tons and Cocoa can grow in at least 23 states. What happened to us? Oil and Gas,” Ogbe said.
However, the Minister instructed the Ag. Executive Director of the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Mrs. Feyisara Okelana to prepare intensive implementation plan to ensure government achieve the new target.
Ogbeh emphasized, “Nigeria needs CRIN badly”, adding that the research institute should design a roadmap to restore coffee plantation.
“There is no future in imports. We will find money to support you. When you produce, package it like every other package.”
According to him, global market for coffee trade is about $70 billion while $5 billion of the market share could go to the local farmers as profit.
On 572 staffs of the institute that were denied of their salaries and 91 sacked by the institute human resource department, the Minister directed the ministry’s Director of Human Resources, Mrs. Bunmi Shobowale to rectify the payment issues as well as work with CRIN to reabsorb the staff.
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