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REPs, Agric Ministry, to design national cocoa policy

THE Nigeria’s House of Representatives has urged Nigerians to resume large-scale cocoa production, so as to put it back at the top of the list of cocoa exporting countries.

In the same light, the House instructed its Committee on Agricultural Production and Services to liase with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to “review all existing cocoa/commodity laws and develop a National Cocoa Policy to reposition the country as the largest producer in Africa and its recognisable position in the world.”

The committee is expected to come back in four weeks with recommendations for additional legislative action.

Ademorin Kuye, a member of the House, proposed a motion titled “Need to Review the Country’s Cocoa Production Policy,” which the lawmakers overwhelmingly approved in plenary on Tuesday.

Kuye, who moved the motion, recalled that before the discovery of crude oil in commercial amounts in the 1970s, Nigeria was a key participant in cocoa production, being the world’s second-largest producer with 450,000 tons and the country’s top foreign exchange earner in the 1950s and 1960s.

Unfortunately, the Nigerian cocoa market crashed in the 1990s, with production falling to 170,000 tons, which  was influenced by the late 1980s Structural Adjustment Programme policies, which included the dissolution of the cocoa marketing board in order to liberalize cocoa marketing trade and allow improved cocoa output and pricing.

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