EUROPEAN Union (EU) officials have threatened to reject cocoa produced in Nigeria as from next year due to quality issues that have got out of hand lately resulting in over0-chemicalised produce that does not meet food safety standards being shipped.
Nigeria is currently the world’s fourth largest cocoa producer with an annual crop of between 250,000 and 300,000 tonnes. However, unlike other major producers like Ivory Coast, Ghana and Indonesia, Nigeria has no invested adequately in grinding facilities and ensured that local production complies with global food standard regulations.
Adeola Adegoke, the president of the Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria, cocoa farmers are currently apprehensive over the imminent rejection of their produce by the EU as from 2022. He noted that the EU policy on overdose of chemicals as happens with Nigeria’s cocoa was what could result to the rejection of the commodity.
Mr Adegoke said: “Our buyers are complaining of quality. They are now threatening Nigeria that they are going to reject our cocoa and that is a very serious issue that needs to addressed at out summit.
“We are also looking at the EU policy which says that as long as we continue to use chemicals more than a certain level, our cocoa will be rejected as from 2022. Are we going to wait till 2022, like we did during the beans ban? We don’t need to wait for this, so the summit will address these issues.”
He also explained that the forthcoming summit would address other concerns, which include issues on national cocoa policy, land availability for youth participation and climate change. In addition, Mr Adegoke said average productivity per hectare is about 300kg to 350kg, whereas in Ghana and Ivory Coast, it is about 800kg to 1000kg per hectare and this needs to be addressed.