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Tu esday, June 14, 2011

rage 40, T HIS DAY, Vol . 16, No. 5895

sWORLD

agric

Affinnative Action Needed to Save Cocoa, Agriculture E

lports of cocoa products from N'igeria TQSC' 41 percent, grossing revenue. of.5822.8 mil~ lion into the country in 2O IO.This figure ~ ~a:I OYer 30 per cent of $2.32 bill ion earnings (rom rKIn-oil exports last ye:tr for Nigeria.Africa'sle3ding oil prodllcer. ~ ~ hopes 111m t3mings (rom the Str;Jlcgic commodil)' shook! rise in the future. or II \east N'igma h:u capacify for this 10 occur. HQ\\'c\"t:!", M:tIyslS ha\"e their doubts thaI the C'xisting palentials. \\ hich the n:llion possc:ssc:s in the :n,1 of cocoa prodoc1ion, may fi72.1e out withoul bl:ing achie....ed. if the currenllluirOOe of go\'> enunenllo tOtO. and the entire ag:ricu ltuml sec-

In this report, Crusoe Osagie echoes the views of analysts who believe that cocoa, other national crops and the entire agricultural sector must be taken more seriously, if Nigeria is to attain its set economic objectives Missing Links Nigeria is known 10 consume not less Ihan $1 billion worth of sugar annu;dly and we prodllt'C ~Iy IS per cent of the national ~I\remc:nu. The question theTdore remains, "hy can tile fl3tion not produce sug:m:anc: 10 produce her own sugar. despite the abund:tna:: 0( low '-alley swamps in NigrOa. suiled for sugar c:mc pmdur:lion1 II IS the: SlIme story for maitt, Apart from being a national stable crop. Maitt is also a source 01 sucrose. glue: and swdl, The Nigerian 80\'efTlrn:1lI has ConSiSICfltly spoken lrool doubling maitt produc:tion, bul this h.'IS been more. words th:'I1l action. Thc 10 per cenl inr:lusion policy of 1ZSa\'a fIoui in the: production 0( bread and 0I1ler ronfectioneric:s which is capnble of pushing Nigeria's cassava pr0duction to about 60 million metric lannes per annum has long been abandoned since: the: e-~II or the! Obasanjo administrnlioo. 1'his single policy with clear amrmam~ action can lead to the creation of] million jobs at both fann nnd f:tCIory levels. Jt will also Icad to huge savings 01 scarce foreign I:.Ich;r.nge. which otherwi~ wOl.rld ba\'e been used in importing whc:lt flour. In gmernl Nigerian agricullUt'c: requin=s c1e.v decisi\~ action policies and legislati\~ frameworks for il locreale Ihc,' desired efTer:t on the economy. The unvnployrn:m problem in Nigeria can br resohu through agrkultulll and il5 allied intlustries Providing loan facilities such as the N200 billion agrie fund is not mough 10 jurnpSUUt agncultut'c:, Fa oample.therelw been criticism IS to the actual PUT' pose for which 1I~ fu nd is meanl. II is understood not 10 be used for Inputs or machineries or fertili5a"S but only for production thcrefore. input suppliers who import lhc:se inpul5 31 high bank .-ales and nucruating foreign ochange flItes arc: not aJ1O"'ed access to the funds, Consequently, tJ1C)' Sf:'11 inputs at exorbitant f<!les to small f:mnen who cannot afford il.

lor pcrsi<ls. Gloom ~' J'id Il ~

Doom f.m,Iictions about Nigeria's cocoa pmductlon may already be gearing 10 materialise.

Cocoa prices recei.'f:lI by farmefS in Nigeria fell by 11$ much:lS 28 per cent from a record high due 10 declining demand . according 10 the secretary gCTlffi\1 of the COCQ;\ Association of Nigerin. Ntj;

Ab:lOg Neji.

Prices ha\"C (allm because there is 100000' demand for the so-called hghl-crop beans. which !he f:ll1m'1"! an: harvesting current ly. he said . "Demand is always low because you ha\'e 10 crush ~ beans to get the right quantity of but· ter lh~1 you need". Prices :l/'e 400.000 naif<! tS2.s(7) a metric lonne in AkUl't:. and 384.000 naim a tonne' in Ikorn. in !he ~nh,uown from an illI-time high of ~bout

S]5!XX) nai f<! a tonne in early Jl. lnrrll. he

said. Money Spinner Cot'OII ~ !he!CX'Ol1d l:ugest foreign ochange for Nigeria and Nigeria is the fouM l:ugest cocoa producer lind supplier in the wor ld. Nigeria st.'IIlCb behind rountric:s such as COlI: d' h'Oire. Coasr. which 15 number one: Ghana and Indonesia. \VJmI is unfortunate aboul Nigeria's current standing in global cocoa production ~ the fact Wt in ImnS 0( human, matc:ri;d and nall1l'1ll resources. Nigeria actually stands talter than the three countries thai lead il in COC'Oi1 production_ According to analysts, Nigeria ~ polen. tial in abund.,nce: bul IlI:ks comrnitmc:nt to rum potenti:al1O lClual OUtput. Understanding this led the: admin~uation 0( Chief Olusegun QbasMjo to deploy resources to the grQ\\1h and development of cocoa in Nigeria, with it dear \'ision to make tI~ counuy numba two in Africa after Cole d'h'Oire, 11lcre have been 5e\'ef<!1 reports thai Nigena cocoa "ill sufTer some production setback in 201 1 11ti.s has not been 5ttI\. buI5uccessi'e govCTIlIT'ICI11S after Ihe Oba,'ianjo administmuon have rJQl conlin ued in II~ footlil~ of thai adntinisu-alion as far as the de\~lopment of COCOO IS ron· eamef

=....

During ~ Olmalljoad lnini~lrnt ion cocoa had special \'OIe:s In the national budget.. That \'O!:e "-as ()c:pIo)'ed to p!O\'il.hng inputs. such as dK"mical~: implO\u seed1inp. feniliscl3. jute bags an'lOllg othmr. 1l'Iese funds " '('fe aIso used fot rcsuscit:umg old I'I:lIIlations and TqlIanlil1g new 'The """ OuIJlUt

were quick 10 show at that time , up from bm-J)' 2OO.IXX) nrtric

~lits

~tnt

War Forward ' Vice Prtsid,ml, Nanladi Sanlbrl tonnes 10 ]70,00) metric lonnes pr:r annum with· in a three ye.v period, BUI this h,lS been coming down since: 2008. As at today. Nip is barrl)' producing]OOJXX) metric tOllnes or coco:I beans per annum, During the: Obasanjo adminislrnlion as we ll. a committee known as the Nltional Cocoa Dc:-.-eJopmml Comminee (NCOC) \\'a.s inSlilUted with the: FedcrnJ Minister ror Agricullure as Chairman and Oep.Jry Qoo.T:mOI' 0( the: 13 C()L"Oa producing states in thc: Felkrntion as members. This committee mel e\'el)' qu:uter. bul this has long ceased 10 be,

Sa\rcily of h lJXlLS II is also a known facl thai since 2008. the gm'efTlmc:n1has IJQl procured any mputs for the ooroa Mlb 5eCIor. Othcrcountries SIKh as COle d' \.-oire and Ghana, where coro.1 production has steadily been on thc: incn:lHC, pul this crop OIl the front burner of their national C'OOOOITl)'. r'Ofuample. thc Gham C()C().'I Board has consistently protumt. 520 miliiOll wonh of Ridomil Gold phu (from S)ngenlll, Switzerland, since 2OO-t and up until and Including 20 1 I, Also, the: lvurian g-D''mUTlerI1 IS equally kllO\Ooll to procure and disln'huic Aawa and Ridomil Gold plus to their \'aoous cocoa fanners. This they do e\'eIl during lhe time of "'llfS. This aplains why their C'OCOa production rE>'tt suffers. e\-en during civil crisis in !he counuy, It is only by such ;lj'f'lfTT1.1tive action thai rot'Oa grtJ\'-'\h and <b-e.1opmc:n1 can be: susrained in Ni!!cria. II is not just cocoa but this should be extended TO the core Nigerian crops: rice. maize, COItOll, sugarane elc. The whopping sum of 52 bilJioo lIS repooed by CBN. which is spent annual ly 011 rice impon , can be sa\~ and depkJ)'Cd 10 the dr;\-elopmc:nl of the infrastnJetunil SCC10r of the Nigerian economy, One of the: key fllctorS that killed the lextile indusuy in Nigeria ~ the: laek of cotton linl. lf the conan crop is dr;\~Ioped. thaI can Jead 10 the resuscitation of not \es.s than 2 millionjobs oh arious r;adres ,

Agriculluf<!1 intCl""CTlIion programmes must br lotalitarian in methods and lI.mrmarn~ in actions TheTdore. inlervenlJOn funds like the: N200 billion 3grkullun:: funds should be made: av:rilable 10 seeds and seedlings devclopc:B. traclor dealers and farm· ~ al l !hose invoh~ '"the agricullUrai \-aloe chain This is the way forward fot Nigeria's agricuhurc:. M:maging Director of Swiss l3iostadl . Mr. Emma Ajarl. sa~'s inpul fWU\'idc:rs are languishing Untlel high b:utk inl~ ra\t:S and aeh.1llge rule:< nllCtU.1' tions. 'The)' are. tJ'lCrefore ronslrninru 10 IImil importS to lhetr abilities and consequently the fllmlCTS demands are. not rT1l1 in !IOIl1C 511UallOns. Uc further revealed that f:umc:rs rue orten plll'-enl' ed from procuring inpulS thlll would ha\'e !h'ttl them irt1pfO\~ yield and quality of han.'eSI br:I;ause 01 their low purchasing JlO"'tt. which again bc:p r(ll governmenl intCTVCnlion. Aja)'i further a\'t!13 that Ni~an agriculture can· not grow and develop if g<J\"mlffiCOI does not uke I leoci role and does not formulate appropriBte policies backed by decisive actioM. He says the sector is in its wom SC~ e\'tt in the last 30 )~an of his iTMlII'l:TneTu in the agricullure sector. He also lamenlS that the Nigerian f8Jl'Tlel' iJ \liOfSe off !han be has been :uKJ is rBr' bc:hlnd his coun· terparts in other African countries, ' "'The inr:onting agriculture Mini51a mllSl be: pre. pared and re.soh~ to make agriculture am-acth,,: and econorcically viable. The sector Tk'eds a profes.5lOllal and not a polilician to 1IlO\-e it forwMllikc other sec· tors SIKh as aviation. hc;dth, edlXlllion. The FcckraJ Ministry of AgricullUl'e should be gl\-en I professional who undcmands the: intricacies of agricu l ~ to lead it as minislef," he SIre5SCd.

THISDAY, 14 JUNE 2011  

Affirmative Action Needed to Save Cocoa, Agriculture

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