Mr Ademola Adegoke, the national president, Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), has said his members lose five per cent of their produce yearly due to lack of support from stakeholders.
Adegoke made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja while listing some of the challenges that contributed to the gross fall of cocoa production in Nigeria.
He said one of the major challenges facing cocoa farmers was finance. He said there were a lot of problems on finance from government and other institutions to support farmers grow their produce.
According to him, when a farmer has a farmland and cocoa trees, he cannot use the land and the cocoa to secure loans unless he goes to exporters to be guarantors.
“I think land and trees should be enough to access loans. This area needs serious attention from the government to improve the sector,’’ he said.
He said that going by the data of output of crops in Nigeria, there had been a downturn that had affected cocoa production from 2011 to 2015 and investment in the sector.
According to him, this has posed a great concern to the association and has also affected farmers’ income, thereby increasing poverty among farmers.
“We believe the nation is losing millions of revenue in this regard, with farmers at the suffering end.
“With this percentage of loss, we believe it is as a result of things left undone by stakeholders in the sector,’’ he added
Adegoke said that in the Western Region, the story of cocoa was different as the production of the commodity was about four million metric tonnes, but presently, Nigeria is only producing less than 250,000 tonnes.
“We heard that in Nigeria, only a small amount comes to farmers as revenue, so how do we intend to grow the sector?’’
He said that in Ghana, there were interventions, but it is not so in Nigeria.
“We believe that to grow the economy, there are lots of things to be done. The issue of irrigation is very important. And our cocoa farms are in jeopardy because of heat waves.
“We call on the government, the private sector and farmers to come together to proffer solutions in these areas,’’ he further said.