The Federal Government yesterday inaugurated the National Cocoa Management Committee (NCMC) to see to the re-establishment of the Nigeria Cocoa Board and also ensure Cocoa farmers benefit from the Living Income Differential (LID) of $400 per tonne to improve their living standards.
Cocoa exporters in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire have been enjoying the LID introduced by the two countries as a premium on their cocoa and as a tool to complement the prices of the cash crop in the international market.
Unconfirmed reports have it that exporters have been taking cocoa of Nigerian origin to either Ghana or Cote d’Ivoire for them to enjoy the $400 per ton LDI premium.
Inaugurating the Cocoa Management Committee in Abuja, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammed Abubakar stated that the purpose of the committee is to work out modalities for Nigerian cocoa farmers to start benefiting from this initiative like their counterparts in Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire ports.
Abubakar tasked the committee members saying, “One of your immediate tasks is to come up with an urgent draft charter for the operations of NCMC which will enable an Executive Bill to be forwarded to the National Assembly for legal backing so as to meet the demand of joining the Ghana/Cote d’Ivoire initiative to deliver Living Income Differential (LID) of $400/ ton, which will, in turn, improve the livelihood of our smallholder cocoa farmers in the country”.
The committee chaired by the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Garuba Abubakar has the following terms of reference: “develop a framework for the regulation and monitoring of the activities of the Cocoa sector to make the industry more transparent and also develop a strategic plan towards the establishment of a Nigerian Cocoa Board.
Being an important regulatory body in the Nigerian Cocoa sector, they are to upscale their activities to all cocoa-producing states and also develop Local, State and Federal Government strategic implementation plans for the National Cocoa Management Committee.
The committee is also expected to establish a data bank for all Multinational Companies and Exporters of Cocoa Beans from Nigerian Ports.
Abubakar further urged NCMC to drive the cocoa sector through a pragmatic approach as a coordinating body by providing solutions to challenges affecting the value chain so as to guarantee the quality, traceability, transparency and sustainability along the Cocoa Value Chain and also meet both local needs and export demands.