The Nigerian Government stated last week that it was committed to increasing Nigeria’s cocoa production to 500,000 tonnes by 2024.
The country, which is the fourth largest cocoa producer in the world, is expected to have a slight drop in production this year to around 270 -280,000 tonnes. Meeting the goal a mere two years later, looks ambitious.
However, this is the official position held by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, which he stated following a meeting with Mr Arrion Michel, Executive Director, International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO).
In fact, the ICCO and Dr Mohammad Abubakar appear to be starting from different numbers. The Minister believes Nigeria is producing 340,000 tonnes currently;
Commitment of the Federal Government to increase Nigeria’s cocoa production from the present 340,000 tonnes to 500,000 tonnes by 2024.Dr Mohammad Abubakar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development
However, the official ICCO statistics are telling a different story. Production appears to be going down, not up.
“Recently, Nigeria has made a remarkable move to join the Living Income Differential (LID) initiatives which was established by Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana in 2019 which aims at guaranteeing the livelihood of smallholder farmers through LID of $400/ton of cocoa beans sold.
”The two countries are benefiting while Nigerian cocoa farmers are at a disadvantage of this benefit due to unregulated and liberalised cocoa industry in the country,” Abubakar said.
I’m not sure the farmers in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire would necessarily agree. The LID has been enforced, but it seems the country premiums have been correspondingly cut.
Mr Arrion Michel, Executive Director of the ICCO put it this way, ”the price is determined in Europe and there is a need to address the issues of market force.”
He’s not wrong – the market forces drive the price, and if we want farmers to be paid more, perhaps a different mechanism needs to be considered. Some countries have a regulated minimum wage because otherwise market forces would drive some low-paid jobs below a decent living standard. Isn’t this the same argument?
Photos source: Antoshananarivo, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons