Amid Nigeria’s relegation to the seventh position among world’s cocoa producers, there are indications that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) may drop by whopping N1 trillion by 2020.
This development is fuelled by failure to meet an estimated 500,000 metric tons (mt) of processed cocoa between now and the year in focus.
Of late, Nigeria has been struggling to meet her cocoa production target, leading to a huge loss of almost $1 billion yearly.
Acting General Manager of WACOT Limited, Bhatta Charyya, in a chat with New Telegraph, disclosed that cocoa producers were facing turbulent challenges. He said that this was the reason Nigeria has not been able to meet its production target set by the International Cocoa Organisation (ICO).
Charyya said that economic woes orchestrated by policy summersaults of the Federal Government and droughts in the country were having adverse effects on the country’s cocoa production and revenue drive.
According to him, Nigeria will be losing a whopping sum of N1 trillion or $3 billion for not producing 500,000 metric tons of cocoa by 2020.
“As for our estimated loss, because cocoa is not being fully processed in Nigeria, we are losing close to $1 billion every year. And if cocoa production does not go up to 500,000 tons by 2020, we will be losing something like $3 billion (N1 trillion) every year if we do not process cocoa in Nigeria,” Charyya said.
He explained that lack of synergy between the public and private sector was another reason for Nigeria slipping to the seventh position as against the second or third position, which the country is expected to be.
According to him, this trend has affected the country in a major way and cocoa producers are still getting a little premium on their produce.
He added that cocoa producers had been affected in terms of collaboration with government and international cocoa agencies as regards grants that should come into the sector.
Speaking further on the forthcoming cocoa festival, the company’s acting general manager commended the effort of Eti-Oni community for cocoa utilization, especially by producing chocolate and also revealed the commitment of the company to continue to support Eti-Oni Development Group, including other organizations that stand for the well-being of cocoa value chain in Nigeria.
He said: “We don’t really know what Eti-Oni saw for them to go into this value chain by producing ETI-Oni Chocolate. But we are proud of what they have done and WACOT Limited is proud to be part of Cocoa Festival 2017.”
On his part, Olooni of Eti- Oni, Oba Dokun Thompson, while unveiling the Eti-Oni Chocolate, stressed the commitment of Eti-Oni Development Group to promote the revitalization of the cocoa industry as part of the nation’s economic diversification agenda.
He said: “We can recall that before the discovery of oil in Nigeria, the western region had accelerated development, which made it possible to establish the first television station in Africa, the tallest building in Africa, the first university in Nigeria with one of the best teaching hospitals in Africa and several other accomplishments. All these came as a result of the judicious use of monies derived mainly from cocoa.
“The main objective of the cocoa festival is to create a renaissance in the cocoa industry and build bridges between production and consumption to achieve sustainability and, through it, transform the rural community of Eti-Oni into a sustainable model smart town in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN 2030 SDGs).