Nigeria’s government has created a new committee that develops and monitors the country’s Cocoa sector and makes its activities more transparent in the process.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, inaugurated the National Cocoa Management Committee (NCMC). The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, said this was in line with the policy of the current government to diversify the Nigerian economy away from the oil sector towards the non-oil sector, in which agriculture plays an important role.

The NCMC consists of 10 members and will aim at establishing a Nigerian Cocoa Board that will serve as a regulatory body for the industry, according to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD). Nigeria’s Cocoa is currently managed by the private sector, but they are now hoping to transition into a centralised regulatory system, similar to Ghana’s COCOBOD.

Cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana benefit from the LID (Living Income Differential) mandate, which requires Cocoa buyers to pay an extra USD$400 per tonne to support a living wage for the farmers.

The newly inaugurated committee will work towards the goal of making Nigeria eligible to join the LID initiative, says FMARD Chief Information Officer, Ezeaja Ikemefuna. Nigeria has previously struggled to be granted the LID, due partly to a lack of transparency in the country’s Cocoa sector.

Members of the new committee include Muftau Abolarinwa, President of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria, and Adeola Adegoke, President of the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria.

Historically, the Nigerian Cocoa Board purchased Cocoa from local farmers and exported the commodity. The board was abolished in 1986, however, when Nigeria liberalised its Cocoa industry.

Photo from The Guardian NG

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