The Federal Government on Tuesday inaugurated the National Cocoa Management Committee (NCMC), to tackle some of the challenges in the cocoa sector.
Speaking at the inauguration of the 11-man Committee on National Cocoa Management, in Abuja, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, said the committee was to develop strategies to solve these challenges.
“Some of the challenges being encountered in the cocoa sector include pest and diseases, logistics such as rural roads and infrastructure.
“Also, old cocoa plantations, ageing of our cocoa farmers, processing, access to finance, environmental concerns such as deforestation, climate change and absence of a national coordinating body,” Abubakar said.
The minister said the event was the culmination of enormous collective efforts including a recent visit by the officials of the ministry to Ghana to study the implementation of Living Income Differential (LID).
“Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire introduced the Living Income Differential (LID) as a premium on their cocoa and as a tool to complement their prices of cocoa in the international market.
“The purpose of this is to increase the share benefits received by cocoa farmers in these countries,” Abubakar said.
He spoke on the terms of reference of the committee, some of which are:
“The NCMC shall develop a framework for the regulation and monitoring of the activities of the cocoa sector to make the industry more transparent.
“The NCMC shall develop a strategic plan towards the establishment of a Nigerian Cocoa Board.
“The NCMC shall develop a Nigerian charter towards joining the Ghana/Cote d’Ivoire initiative”.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, of the Ministry, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, expressed delight for being part of the inauguration of the committee.
“This is in line with the present Administration’s policy on diversification of the Nigerian economy from the oil to the non-oil sector of which Agriculture is playing a major role,” Umakhihe said.
The Committee chairman is Mr Abdullahi Garba Abubakar, from the
Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Abuja.
The Secretary, Dr Patrick Adebola, is from Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria. nan.