The Federal Government has taken steps to enhance living Income Differential of Cocoa Farmers by inaugurating a National Cocoa Management Committee (NCMC).
While inaugurating the Committee in his office in Abuja recently, the Hon. Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar stated that it would boost Living Income Differential (LID) for the Cocoa Smallholder Farmers, Guarantee Quality, Traceability, Transparency and Sustainability for Cocoa Value Chain as well as meet Export Demands.
He added that the initiative would lead to working out modalities for Nigerian cocoa farmers to start benefitting from the project like their counterparts in Ghana and Cote d’ vorie .
Dr. Mahmood Abubakar charged the committee with the task to come up with an urgent draft charter for the operations of NCMC which would enable an Executive Bill to be forwarded to the National Assembly for legal backing so as to meet the demand of joining the Ghana/Cote d’Ivoire initiative to deliver Living Income Differential (LID) of $400/ ton, which would in turn improve the livelihood of small holder Cocoa farmers in the Country.
He pointed out that the role of the Ministry was to provide enabling environment to ensure that the Committee performed its role effectively and achieve mandate.
The Minister revealed that the Members of Committee were drawn from all relevant stakeholders in the public and private sectors in line with Global Best Practices.
In his welcome address, Permanent Secretary, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe pointed out that ‘‘the emergence of this noble Committee was the outcome of the interactive meeting between the Nigerian Cocoa delegation and Ghanaian Cocoa Board held in Accra, Ghana in May, 2022’’.
Dr. Ernest Umakhihe also re-stated the commitment of the ministry towards making hybrid seeds available to farmers, timely provision of pesticides and other critical Cocoa farm inputs, linking the farmers to financial institutions for financial support at affordable rates, support processors in order to add value to the farm produce.
Responding on behalf of the Committee, the Chairman, Engr. Garuba Abubakar assured that the committee would work assiduously towards achieving its mandate and increase the quality of cocoa production and meets export demand.
The Term of Reference of the Committee includes; develop a framework for the regulation and monitoring of the activities of the Cocoa sector to make the industry more transparent, develop a strategic plan towards the establishment of a Nigerian Cocoa Board, serve as a regulatory body in the Nigerian Cocoa sector, upscale their activities to all cocoa producing states, organise and conduct a national conference for Commissioners of Agriculture from 36 states and FCT to sensitize them on the importance of LID and efforts of the Federal Government towards ensuring that small holder cocoa farmers also enjoy the benefit like Ghana and Cote ‘Ivoire, among others.
The newly inaugurated committee has the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Engr. Abduallahi Abubakar as Chairman, Dr. Patrick Adebola, Secretary, while Mr. Olutobaba Ajayi, Mr. Ibrahim Mohammed, Mr. S.O.G Tuayeringha, Mr. James Oyesola, Mr Williams Ifere, Prince Martins Awofisayo, Comrade Adeola Adegoke and Mr. Abolarinwa as members.