The National President, Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), Adeola Adegoke, has said that the collaboration between the United States Traceability and Resilience in Agriculture and Cocoa Ecosystems of Nigeria (TRACE) and the association is centered on the need to strengthen the traceability of the cocoa beans produced by the smallholder cocoa farmers and develop their capacity in order to establish transparency in the supply chain and enhance productivity per hectare.
He said that the US-TRACE, through the Lutheran World Relief, had approved US$22 million, five years development programme to support the Nigerian cocoa value chain. The programme, according to him, covers traceability, climate smart practices, inputs support to smallholder farmers, capacity building along the value chain and exports in collaboration with the Nigerian cocoa stakeholders. He said the collaboration will definitely transform the sector in the next five years, stating that the targeted smallholder cocoa farmers would also be trained on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPS) in the six states designated for the programme which are; Ondo, Oyo, Ekiti, Cross River, Osun and Akwa Ibom.
He said Nigeria, through the collaborative efforts of stakeholders, US-TRACE and President Bola Tinubu’s Cocoa Board Resuscitation Policy, would control and develop the cocoa supply chain, to overtake Cote D’Ivore and Ghana, on cocoa sustainable supply chain before year 2025, for the European Union (EU) had set to ban unsustainable cocoa beans from entering the international markets. He noted that the association had taken it, as matter of necessity, the implementation of cocoa agroforestry practices amongst her members in order to solve the challenges of deforestation and protect the nation’s biodiversity.
“This programme involves the preservation of our indigenous trees in our cocoa farms and the distribution of free tree seedlings to our cocoa farmers for planting on their cocoa farms. The programme will further reduce the carbon dioxide emission and place Nigeria to be listed to receive carbon credit funding very soon through REDD+. We are rest assured that the Nigeria cocoa industry will soon witness a lot of transformation across the supply chain with the determination of all stakeholders to protect our huge investments and guarantee a seamless journey to full sustainability before 2025”, he said.