The President, Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN), Mr Adeola Adegoke, has disclosed that Nigeria loses N60 billion annually to non-collection of Living Income Differential(LID).

The money is meant to support small holder farmers.

Adegoke disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja on the sideline of a workshop which was organised by Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) and the University of Ibadan.

The workshop was meant to review cocoa production policies and strengthen the production of cocoa in the country.

The workshop was themed “Cocoa commercialisation in Nigeria: Issues, prospects and policy requirements”.

Adegoke said that the association was poised towards leading the country to regain its lost glory in the comity of cocoa producing countries.

“In the 1960s, Nigeria was producing 590,000 tonnes of cocoa and was adjudged the second largest in the world.

“When the oil boom came, cocoa was relegated and in the last two months, cocoa has shown it is the highest to oil in terms of foreign exchange earnings.

“It means the foreign exchange deficit we are experiencing can only be solved through the economy… As at today what cocoa is bringing to Nigeria is next to oil. When you look at the percentage, it shows the potential.

“In Ghana today, each farmer collects 400 dollars for each tonne of cocoa and same in Cote d’Ivoire and that is why Nigeria must begin to collect Living Income Differential (LID). Non-collection makes us to lose N60 billion annually,“ he pointed out.

He said that with their dominance as global cocoa producers, Ghana’s and Cote d’Ivoire’s new Living Income Differential (LID) was a bold new move by the two countries to make a fundamental change to the structure of global markets.

He said this would ensure that rural producers received a living income.

The Chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Colleges, Universities and Institutions of Agriculture, Munil Uba- Danabundi, said formulated policies should be well implemented.

“Policies have been very good in this country but implementation has been something else and we have a lot of challenges in its implementation’’ he said.

According to him, cocoa farming is one of the most sustainable investments that will give employment to the teeming Nigerian youths.

“There are about 22 states in the country that can farm cocoa and the potential is enormous for the country” he noted.

Also speaking, Country Lead and Principal Investigator of APRA in Nigeria, Dr Adeola Olajide, said the government needed to create a cocoa utilisation and consumption policy, adding that Nigeria must consume its own cocoa.

“Cocoa web development policy and money value chains in terms of beverages and cosmetics should be included.

She added that the country needed processing zones agricultural logistics and services for the cocoa sector.

“With the role that cocoa plays in income generation, it should be given priority” she advised. (NAN)