Apapa Gridlock Traps 30,000 Tonnes Of Cocoa


About 30,000 metric tonnes of cocoa have been trapped at the Apapa gridlock on its way to the Apapa port, according to exporters.

The Cocoa Exporters Association of Nigeria on Monday said that 1,760 tons of Cocoa butter and cake are held up in the traffic which has been a source of concern to motorists, residents as well as importers and exporters.

Traders said, as a result of the development, farm-gate cocoa prices have dropped, while purchases have slowed.

Nigeria is currently ranked fifth alongside Cameroon, among the world’s biggest cocoa producers, with the international cocoa organisation estimating its 2017 to 2018 output at 240,000 metric tonnes.

The Apapa is one of Africa’s biggest port city but the current road repairs hinder access to ships for export.

Cocoa Farmers Decry Alleged Supply Of ‘Fake’ Farm Inputs

Cocoa Farmers Decry Alleged Supply Of Farm Inputs
File photo


Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) has decried the alarming rate of losses occasioned by the alleged supply of ‘fake’ chemicals and other inputs to their members for the 2017 planting season.

National Vice Chairman of the association, Mr Ayodele Joseph, said this while addressing a press conference on Wednesday in Akure, the Ondo State capital.

He sought the urgent intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari to avert what he described as economic sabotage allegedly perpetrated by some officials of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in the supply of inputs to farmers.

He said the procured inputs are fungicides which farmers across the country said had destroyed their cocoa trees and farms.

Mr Joseph said they had earlier appealed to the Ministry on the need to carry CFAN along whenever critical issues relating to the procurement of inputs were being discussed to enable them to list their demands for the year.

“We want President Buhari to know that most of the inputs procured in the past like jute bags, solo sprayer, pumps, fungicides, and insecticides were rejected by cocoa farmers due to its low standard.

“Those farmers that used part of it regretted their action later because of the negative impacts on their cocoa farms,” he said.

The association also lamented that cocoa that used to be the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy, particularly in the old western region had been relegated to the background due to the ‘unpatriotic’ nature of those saddled with the responsibility of promoting the cash crop.

They said they had called the attention of the then Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, stressing that the letter was forwarded to the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe, after which there was no response on the matter.

Joseph also alleged that several letters were written to the minister on the issue without any positive action on the matter.

He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to stop the procurement of cocoa inputs at the ministry until consultations were made with them as representatives of the peasant cocoa farmers in the country to avoid further loss.

Cote d’Ivoire Achieves Record Cocoa Production

The cocoa crop of Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest producer, increased 28.5 percent to a record 2.15 million tonnes in the 2016-17 season, the national Coffee and Cocoa Council said Friday.

Exports increased by 23.3 percent to 1.9 million tonnes, helping to raise the overall gross income of the country’s producers by 28.6 percent to 2.013 trillion CFA francs (3.2 billion euros, $3.8 billion), compared to 1.565 trillion the previous season.

But the year was “marked by a deep crisis,” said Lambert Kouassi Konan, chairman of the board of directors at industry regulator Coffee and Cocoa Council, because world prices of “brown gold” fell by more than a third.

Konan took stock of the year’s crop in the capital Abidjan on Friday at the opening of the fourth national cocoa and chocolate days, which run until Sunday and also marked the opening of the 2017-18 season.

While the minimum price guaranteed to farmers was 1,100 CFA francs per kilo at the start of the 2016-17 season, the Ivorian government had to lower the price to 700 CFA francs in April due to falling prices in international markets, which was linked to overproduction in relation to demand and aggravated by the weakness of the pound against the euro, Konan said.

The pound is the main currency used for cocoa trading, which is mainly done in London.

Konan also mentioned problems with inventory management and failures of operators to explain the year’s difficulties, as well as mutinies in the Ivorian army that scared markets earlier in the year.

The price guaranteed to Ivorian cocoa producers for the 2017-18 season will be revealed on Sunday, Konan said.

The cocoa industry, which accounts for 15 percent of GDP and more than 50 percent of export receipts — as well as two-thirds of jobs — is absolutely vital to the country’s economic welfare, according to the World Bank.


I’ll Ensure Budget 2017 Is Not Padded – President Buhari

I'll Ensure Budget 2017 Is Not Padded – President BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari has vowed that the distortions that happened to Budget 2016, in which series of projects and figures were injected into the financial document will not happen to budge 2017. 

The President received members of the Governance Support Group (GSG), led by Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, at State House, Abuja on Friday and made the promise.

The President said: “I am waiting for the 2017 Budget to be brought to us in Council. Any sign of padding anywhere, I will remove it.”

President Buhari reiterated that he had been in government since 1975, variously as governor, oil minister, head of state, and Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), “and never did I hear the word ‘padding’ till the 2016 Budget.”

He promised that such would never happen again under his watch.

The President said that the government stands by its tripod campaign promises of securing the country, reviving the economy, and fighting corruption, but lamented that some people are deliberately turning blind eyes to prevailing realities in the country.

“They don’t want to reflect on the situation in which we are, economically. They want to live the same way; they simply want business as usual,” he said.

On violence that attend rerun elections in the country, President Buhari stated:

“I agonized over the elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and Rivers states. We should have passed the stage in which people are beheaded, and killed because of who occupies certain offices. If we can’t guarantee decent elections, then we have no business being around. Edo State election was good, and I expect Ondo State election to be better.”

Speaking on the anti-corruption cases before the courts, the President said he believed the cleansing currently going on “will lead to a better judiciary”.

“When people are sentenced, Nigerians will believe that we are serious.”

President Buhari equally told his guests that the progress being made in agriculture and exploitation of solid minerals “gives a lot of hope”.

He added: “Our grains go up to Central African Republic, to Burkina Faso, but they can’t buy all the grains harvested this year. And next season should be even better.

“We will focus on other products like cocoa, palm oil, palm kernel, along with the grains. We can start exporting rice in 18 months, and we are getting fertilizers and pesticides in readiness for next year.”

Speaking on behalf of members of GSG, Hon. Nwajiuba said the government had succeeded to a large extent on the security and anti-corruption fronts, adding that the group was positive that the economy would soon experience a turnaround, “as the government is working very hard in that direction.”

The group said the biggest constituency of the President was the poor and lowly, and thus recommended what it calls “a social re-armament of the poor.”

Mono-economic Product Reliance Disorganised Nigeria – Buhari

Chi-Onwurah-and-UK-Member-of-ParliamentPresident Muhammadu Buhari says reliance on a mono-economic product for too long has disorganised Nigeria.

The President made the statement on Tuesday in a meeting held in Abuja with some British Members of Parliament, led by a Nigerian, Honourable Chi Onwurah.

He said: “We are disorganised because we relied on mono-economic product for too long, and now that oil price is down, we have to go back to agriculture and solid minerals.

“Tin, columbite, cocoa, groundnut, and others, used to be the basis of our economy, but then, oil came, and everybody began to look for cheap money.

“Now, we need to start all over again,” he told the MPs.

President Buhari, however, assured the MPs that his government would rebuild Nigeria, but emphasised Nigeria’s expectations from Britain in the rebuilding process.

“We are going to rebuild Nigeria, and there are vast opportunities for Britain and us,” he stressed.

A statement by a spokesman for President Buhari said Honourable Onwurah, Nigerian-born MP for Newcastle, said the team was in Nigeria “to promote positive engagement between Nigeria and the UK.

“We are stronger when we build on ties of the past,” she stressed.

Honourable Onwurah said her team was interested in how the Diaspora could support the economic progress of Nigeria, as well as promotion of trade and diversification of the economy.

Other MPs that were part of the delegation are Rt. Honurable Laurence Robertson, another Nigerian, Honourable Ms Kate Osamor. The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Arkwright was also at the meeting.

FG distributes cocoa seedlings to farmers in Ondo

The Federal Government has distributed the first batch of 3.6 million seedlings of high-yield cocoa varieties free to farmers for this year’s nursery season at Owena village near Owena village, Ondo State.

The distribution was supervised by the South West Regional Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Julius Odeyemi, on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.

Odeyemi explained that the exercise was part of efforts aimed at improving the country’s cocoa production capacity.

He said the country dropped from being the second largest in the world, when it accounted for 20 per cent of global cocoa production, to its current distant fourth position with an abysmal 250,000 metric tonnes, and only five per cent of the world output.

He further said the first batch of the hybrid pods were expected to be reproduced by farmers to form the seedlings of the next generation of high-yield cocoa plantations.

He said they were provided free to the beneficiaries with counterpart funding from the cocoa-producing states.

Odeyemi noted that the production of high-yield and early maturing varieties was approved by the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria.

He said it was “part of the agricultural transformation agenda of the Federal Government, which was being done in partnership with all the cocoa-producing states in the country.”

The minister said with the high-yield seedlings planted in cocoa farms across the country, “the era of government neglect of the agricultural sector is over.”

He said, “Nigeria has a history of a prosperous, viable and vibrant cocoa industry in the past. The cocoa industry provided us with foreign exchange and revenue, which built for us our enduring infrastructure, institutions and edifices.”