The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has collaborated with the Imo Government to enhance the production and exportation of cocoa in the state.
NEPC’s Trade Promotion Adviser in the state, Anthony Ajuruchi, disclosed this at a sensitisation workshop on global best practices in cocoa production and processing for export, held in Owerri.
Speaking on the theme: “ Optimizing the Potentials of Cocoa Production for Exports”, Ajuruchi said that Nigeria exported cocoa beans worth over 500 million dollars in 2021.
He urged exporters in Nigeria to take advantage of the huge potentials available in export destinations such as Brazil, China, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Malaysia, Vietnam, the US and the UK.
“ There are huge potentials in value-added cocoa products whose global worth is over 12 billion dollars, so it will be necessary for us to increase our share of the global production, for a rightful place in the international market.
“ We need to ensure that Imo cocoa producers get it right and join their counterparts in producing high quality cocoa beans for value addition and wealth generation “, he said.
Speaking, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Barthy Okorochukwu, pledged the state Government’s readiness to partner with the NEPC for optimal production, processing and exportation of cocoa.
He urged Imo people to focus on production of cocoa rather than on consumption, adding that this would help generate employment and improve foreign exchange.
“ We are committed to reawakening the production and processing of cash crops for export, rather than just consumption.
“ When we process, we generate foreign exchange and create jobs for unemployed persons and this is why we remain committed to this course of recovering the cocoa sub-sector “, he said.
Also, the Chairman, Imo Chapter of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria, Innocent Dike, commended the NEPC for organising the workshop, noting that the Association was anticipating to raise 200,000 capacities improved cocoa nursery by November 2022.
Our Correspondent reports that the workshop was attended by representatives of the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria and the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as stakeholders in the State’s agricultural sector.