Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says good agronomic practices by farmers will address the imminent rejection of Nigerian cocoa by the European Union beginning from 2022 due to the continuous use of chemicals more than the original level.
The Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria recently alleged that the EU had threatened to reject cocoa produced in Nigeria from 2022 due to a fall in the commodity’s quality.
The vice president stated in Abuja at the Nigerian Cocoa Summit and Awards in Abuja.
Mr Osinbajo, represented by the Gap Lead, Eze Kingsley Uzoma, urged the farmers to institute a mechanism and extend good agronomic practices to ensure that cocoa from Nigeria meet international standards.
He warned that the residual effects of indiscriminate application of chemicals would reduce the quality of the seed and depreciate earnings in the sector as he tasked farmers to use them within the permissible standard.
The CFAN national president, Adeola Adegoke, expressed concern that cocoa, which contributed the highest foreign exchange earnings in the 1950s to 1960s, had its earnings reduced due to many challenges.
Mr Adegoke explained that the advent of climate change had added another factor that negatively affected cocoa production.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Mohammad Abubakar attributed Nigeria’s loss of cocoa power in the global market and competitiveness to lack of improved seedlings, pest infestation, pesticide contamination leading to low quality of cocoa beans, among others.
Mr Abubakar, represented by the director of the Federal Department of Agriculture, Karima Babangida, said the ministry was working to increase cocoa production from the present 250,000 metric tons to 714,000 metric tons.
He stated that the National Cocoa Plan (2021 to 2030) aimed to promote a sustainable cocoa economy, resurgence in production and industrialisation.