The Ogun State government, in collaboration with the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), trained 100 cocoa farmers and traders in the state on Friday to boost the country’s non-oil exports.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Oluola Aikulola revealed this in Abeokuta during the Technical Session on Value Chain Export Development (VCED) for Cocoa Stakeholders .
Mr. Aikulola said the training would also help increase the volume of processed cocoa exported from Nigeria to other countries.
He said: “The shift from agriculture to oil has had a negative impact on the export of cocoa in the country. There is a need to enlighten stakeholders, rekindle and surpass the achievements of the past through cocoa exports in the 1960s.”
Mr Aikulola, to thematic training; “Repositioning Nigeria’s cocoa beans for increased global competitiveness,” NEPC hailed for its efforts to boost non-oil exports.
He called on participants to use the knowledge gained to improve their businesses, saying the state government has created a business environment conducive for entrepreneurs and investors to thrive.
“It is pertinent to note that the current administration has made concerted efforts to create relevant policies, initiatives and programs for a more robust and conducive environment for businesses to flourish.
“We are glad that NEPC is also embarking on similar initiatives by organizing various training programs and workshops to improve non-oil exports in the state,” Mr. Aikulola said.
In addition, the South West Zone Coordinator, NEPC, Samuel Oyeyipo, said the training was part of the council’s deliberate efforts to support stakeholders involved in the cocoa value chain to scale up production, processing and commercialization.
Mr. Oyeyipo said Ghana exported 800,000 metric tons per year, Ivory Coast two million metric tons, while Nigeria produced only 250,000 metric tons per year despite its huge mass of arable land and population. .
The President of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria, Ogun State Chapter, Olusesan Sowunmi commended the NEPC for the training.
Mr. Sowunmi said the training would teach farmers and other stakeholders how to plant, harvest, process and market their produce both locally and internationally.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Iyabo Gbolagbade and Shittu Idris, who praised the state government and NEPC for the training, said the capacity building would boost their activities.