OVER 300,000 tonnes of cocoa was exported from Nigeria last year, Executive Director, the Partnership in the Niger Delta, (PIND), Dr. Dara Akala, has said.
Akala spoke in Akure, Ondo Stste capital, during the Cocoa Value Chain Study Validation Workshop.
“2017 saw an increase in the quantity of cocoa exported from Nigeria rising from about 250,000 tonnes exported in 2016 to more than 300,000 tonnes in 2017”, he said.
“The increase was triggered by the devaluation of the Naira in 2016 by the Nigerian government in a bid to wade off recession.
“While the devaluation of the Naira and subsequent increase in tariffs or outright ban of certain imported goods led to a 30% loss in the value of Nigeria’s currency in comparison to the United States of America’s Dollar.”
Nonetheless, he stated that products like cocoa enjoyed increased demand and production because of its viability as an export product.
Akala urged government at all levels and other development partners to utilize the economic potentials available in cocoa production to cushion the effects of global oil doom.
“As Nigeria’s cocoa production and export began to increase in 2017, the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) carried out a value chain study of the sector between January and April 2018,” he said.
The PIND Market Development Projects Manager, James Elekwachi, said ‘’cocoa sector has the growth potential and the opportunity to increase income and employment for millions of people, especially the unskilled and semi-skilled in the region.”
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, also speaking at the occasion, revealed that the state government has embarked on several revolutionary measures to optimally utilize the cocoa potentials in the state for massive development.